Can we create checklists with recently extinct species?

I am curious if we are able to create regional checklists that include recently extinct and extirpated taxa, or is that discouraged? I thought it could be an interesting way to showcase lost biodiversity in my local ecoregion for anyone who is interested, but I’m not sure if it entirely fits with iNat’s focus…


For regional checklists that have been published over the years outside of iNat it’s pretty standard to include species that have become recently extirpated from the region (e.g., since the 1800s) As for extinct range wide, I personally would still reference it. Both should be annotated to indicate the current status. Who knows, it might eventually be rediscovered in that region.


I don’t see why not, but I’m sort of lax about this kind of thing. I think historical records are important for the overall data base (for the reasons you suggested), but perhaps others will have more concrete advice. If you put the observation up, and it/they become an issue you can always delete them. Nothing is irreparable!

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Agreed. I think the key here is “recent.” iNat explicitly doesn’t focus on fossils for instance, and doesn’t allow observations to be made with dates >130 yrs ago (though there are a few observations “older” than that from before that rule came into effect). At the risk of overinterpreting, I think that means there’s a reasonable case to include any taxa that have gone extinct/been extirpated in the past 130 years.

Farther back than that probably becomes a bit of a judgment call, but I do see value in cases where taxa could conceivably still exist in the wild and be observed by someone. On the other hand, it isn’t clear to me what value having a Great Auk (extinct in 1844) would have on a checklist, as their extinction is quite confirmed, and no observations of them could be posted. This species is on the United States checklist, though it doesn’t show by default (since it isn’t “present”). When we look at it in the checklist, there isn’t notation that it is extinct, so I think this introduces the potential for confusion to users that the species might possibly be observed.

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The Carolina Parakeet and the Passenger Pigeon would qualify.

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