Best Unknown finds?

While I was IDing Unknowns, I found 2 iNat firsts (placeholdered) , and 3 obs where i had to flag because it hasn’t been onto iNat yet, but a search contains some links to ResearchGate. What are your best Unknown finds?


I haven’t knowingly found any rare species, but I do enjoy finding anything other than a blurry plant among the Unknowns. I’ve found a few well-camouflaged frogs and lizards among observations over a year old that I think lots of people must have seen without noticing.


Definitely this. Albeit I completely misidentified it, but I had no idea there was such a thing as a ‘worm lizard’! At least having got it out of unknowns, even to the wrong place, it was then ID’d quite quickly!


Here are some very rare unknown butterflies i’ve found:

Xenandra agria from Parati, BR-RJ, BR on September 04, 2021 at 12:58 PM by benedicto · iNaturalist
Colaciticus banghaasi from Riacho Fundo I on November 25, 2021 at 01:45 PM by Pedro Diniz · iNaturalist
Tribe Eumaeini from Vila Cidão, Iguatu - CE, 63500-000, Brasil on October 05, 2021 at 03:18 PM by Alan Marcel · iNaturalist

There might be more that i’ve forgotten

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Actually my (though not by me) most remarkable find was not Unknown originally, it was incorrectly IDed as a different, unrelated genus of lichens, but it happened to be an undescribed species of Eremastrella. Caused a havoc among colleagues :-)


on Unknowns, we stumbled onto a tree that had been id’d by the observer but a subsequent identifier had marked it as a gall. We engaged the observer and identifier to see what direction the observer wanted to go. Turned out the gall was the observer’s target, and it was rare or first of its kind on inat. Can’t locate the observation now, but it was fun to stumble upon it.

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Not actually Unknowns, but these 2 observations west of Monterrey, Mexico, had spent 4 years on iNat identified as Flowering Plants and later as Genus Sisyrinchium before they turned up in a search I ran and I was happy to ID them as Dandya purpusii. There’s not a lot of recent research on this species (which is now the only one in its genus). As the authors of one recent paper wrote: “Dandya purpusii is distinguished by its ephemeral flowering and has been scarcely collected after its description in 1911”


I don’t believe I have an experience of my own like this - but, I’d love to see the observations you came across!

Here’s some cool finds:
endangered salmon
endangered endemic snails!
inat first 1
inat first 2


clearing the unknowns is easy, maybe you’'ll want to try it some day!


I have done it, and it is pretty easy and fun :) also thank you for the links, those are fascinating!

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note: when you do it, perpare for the avalanche of ids coming from the unknowns.

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During the last ID blitz, there were a few really interesting finds. Not all were previously unknown, but several were and some still are! The observations added to the project were only those we found very notable or intriguing, so I think a lot of them were pretty cool:

Especially these ones!


When identifying Hawaiian unknowns it’s always a treat to find a Lobeliod which the AI has haplessly misidentified as something random ;)

Lobeliods are fun plants.


I unfollow an obs when the IDs have moved beyond my competence, or interest.
Or at least once 2 or 3 competent people agree.

yesterday, we found an Endangered Purcell’s Hunter Slug in Unknowns: It is considered an introduced nuisance in India.

Wow, those are gorgeous! I’m surprised they’re not observed more.

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I have to assume that Dandya purpusii isn’t recorded more often because it flowers briefly during August in a rugged and sparsely populated part of the Chihuahuan Desert. Anyone who gets out to those canyons to take photos of plants in that heat has to be pretty dedicated. All the more kudos to @jesus_salazar and @nia for making the effort!

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