Are wet insect specimens accepted on iNaturalist for identification?

Hi everyone, I am new to iNaturalist and wanted to ask about insect specimens preserved in alcohol. Are images of these acceptable to post to this site for possible identification? I have searched the site but could not find any answers.

Background to my question: I am an artist who has an art-science practice. I built my own malaise trap and collected many specimens in the field retracing the path of 19th century German naturalist Amelie Dietrich in North Queensland, Australia. I am exhibiting 100 of my specimens in a public gallery soon and wish to use crowdsourcing to help with the identification as an ongoing project. The specimen vials will be able to handled by visitors and will each have a NFC chip to link them to microscope images and identification information on a unique URL. I would love to link this to a citizen science platform for identification discussions as a way of publicising how everyone can get involved in science and learning about biodiversity.

I am respectful of this community, aware that I am new here, and am trying to find the most suitable platform for assistance with identification. If this is not the place, I’d be grateful to receive any other recommendations.

Thanks for reading my post,


I am not sure of what specimens this is. Alcohol destroys the colour in most plant and animal specimens. Are you taking live photos?

Specimens are acceptable as observations on the site, in particular if you collected them, as long as when you record the observation, it is entered with the date and location where collected, not where they are now.


Hi, the specimens are predominately flying insects (diptera and hymenoptera). My apologies I should have been more specific in my original post.

Hi! Yes I collected them myself and recorded all the observation details.

I was trained and mentored by an expert dipterist and have also worked as a volunteer photographing insect specimens in a natural history museum so I have endeavored to do everything to a high standard. They were collected by me and preserved according to best practice and have always been properly labelled.

Thanks for answering!

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yes, as chcheatle says it is perfectly acceptable (and in fact very welcome) as long as you map to the time and date of collection. if they have been discolored by a long time in alcohol I’d note that in the notes though.


If you are giving you physical specimen some sort of ID (Collection number or such) I would strongly suggest you add this information also to the observation on iNaturalist.
If you want to preserve your specimens not only on a short term basis this may be very useful in the future if you need to find a specimen in a larger collection. There is an observation field called “Collection number”.

I’m also working with natural history collections and we often have problems matching specimens to observations data in spreadsheets.


Thanks Charlie! I will make that note.

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Great advice Paul. Much appreciated. I have a unique identifier for each specimen. Thanks for letting me know the best field to use for it.

I am not sure if this is “the best” field, but I think the most important is that you stay coherent with the field you are using.

“collection number” seems to be used often:

There is also this one:

Glad I could help

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