Annotations - mutiiple Life Stages iin one observation

If an observation shows a female ovipositing, both adult and egg are valid Life Stages. The same may be true for male and female.
Evidence of Presence allows for multiple attributes. I believe the others should also.


Hi @fklusmann, on iNaturalist

An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location.

Evidence of presence and flowering phenology allow multiple selections because an individual organism (or evidence of that organism in the observation) can be represented by more than one of those annotations at one time. For example you could have a photo of a fox that depicts its tracks and the organism itself, or a flower that has some flowers budding and others fully open all on the same stem. Since the butterfly and egg are separate individual organisms, the observation can’t be annotated both ways.

If you would like to be able to record both stages, you can duplicate an observation quickly by clicking the blue button in the top right corner and choosing Duplicate.


It might be worth considering that while the single-organism-per-observation ideal is indeed what the rules say, it’s certainly not how thousands of people actually use iNat, especially when they stray out of charismatic megafauna. Does clinging to an ignored ideal hinder our ability to capture meaningful data? Rules can change, and this sounds like a mismatch between designer and user use cases.

I usually don’t bother adding sex annotations to robber flies partly because I’d have to skip so many observations where the user provided pictures of both sexes or mating pairs in copula, and I think that’s a missed opportunity.

1 Like

We should add annotations that would fit at least one individual on each photo, it’s not that hard to duplicate observation andno problem in annotating one of sexes if they’re mating, this is really a problem out of nothing, I asked people to duplicate obs for annotations and even new users can do that.

The fact that an individual can be represented by more than one annotation at one time does not bother me.

I would like to note that based upon my understanding of phenology, it is about “stages”, so while a plant can have both flowers budding, and flowers open, it is actually in the “flowering stage” and if it has flowers and fruit, it is in the “fruiting stage”.

I am just glad that we have phenology on iNaturalist. It certainly has saved me a lot of time.

It absolutely is. You can disagree with that rule, a lot of people do. But it’s been established very solidly in the forum after extensive discussion.

1 Like

@bouteloua, @tristanmcknight, @fffffffff, @bbk-htx, @charlie

Thank you all for enlightening me. I just saw the notification of your replies. I now understand that an iNat observation is of one individual.

Let me show my ignorance here in the hope this may help you and iNat.
This is the first time that I have read “An observation records an encounter with an individual organism”. My thinking was in terms of documenting a moment in time rather than an individual.

When my daughter used iNat on her new iPhone for the first time to identify a plant there was no clear indication that iNat was looking for an individual.

My conclusion is that the casual iNat user (especially those who use it as an identification tool - and may not even post the observation) probably are not aware of this rule.

Yes, but it’s not really a rule, as you still can post multiple specimens together, they just all will be “used” as if it was one, casual users often don’t know a lot about website, it’s quite complicated and you need forum to learn it most of the times.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.