Best practice, multiple species in same photo

What is consensus here for multiple species in same photo?

Context: I have single photo of 3 gastropod species found in the same habitat. Does the iNaturalist community recommend three separate (cropped) photos of individual species, which is probably better for the iNat identification algorithms. Or, does the community recommend posting the same photo three times with different species highlighted for identification, which is probably better for other users to see a direct comparison of the three species.


Whichever works for you–there’s no need to accommodate the computer vision training or other people. If you’d like to spend the time cropping, you can, but it’s good to also include the original photo too because showing them together provides a whole other type of interesting data. Personally I dislike images that have things drawn on top of them, like circles and arrows, but everyone’s different.


I spend a lot of time identifying other people’s observations, and one thing I would strongly recommend is that, if it’s not immediately apparent which species in the photo you are intending to identify, that you note this verbally in the notes.

In many cases, making the ID is sufficient, but sometimes I see posts like this with similar-looking species and one of them is either mis-ID’ed, or at least controversial / uncertain, and in this case it can be super useful to know which one the person is referring to.

Even if there isn’t any risk of confusion, the verbal clarification can be useful for inexperienced people trying to learn more by looking through observations.


Just upload both, cropped version helps to understand what is the point of observation and original version shows how/where you found it.


I concur with @bouteloua. I’d recommend cropping to one species for each individual upload, but add the multi-species image with each as a secondary image. It’s obviously just a little bit of extra work but this would bring both clarity and context to your observations.


I will echo what’s been said by the others. The best approach may vary a little depending on circumstances but including a cropped photo with the target species centered along with the original photo to show context can be important. I do a fair amount of ID’s with freshwater mussels which, if not hand held, are often in shoreline middens of mixed species. The cropped photo makes picking out the target subject easier, the over all photo gives context that might help ID. In identifying plants, in some cases they are so entwined with other species that cropping may not be appropriate and notes added along with the posted photo might work better.

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