Change pin color of "other animals" (miscelaneous invertebrates) to red to match insects, arachnids, and molluscs

This is not an important request, but something weird I noticed today, which I think should be easy to change.

When viewing observations on the map view of the Explore tab, the pins are color coded, mostly by kingdom (plants are green, fungi are purple, etc.), but the animals are split among red and blue pins. All the vertebrate classes (fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds) get blue pins, and the “major” invertebrate taxa (those with their own filter icons: insects, arachnids, and molluscs) get red pins. These colors also show up on the inset map on an observation’s page and in the filter icons in the Explore tab on the app.

Weirdly, the “other animals,” represented by a featureless icon with an eye, include the remainder of the invertebrates, but they are colored blue to match the vertebrates. I recognize that invertebrates are not a natural group, but it’s strange to have spiders and insects in one color, while their close relatives the crustaceans and myriapods default to the color of vertebrates. Likewise, molluscs (red) and annelids (blue) are fairly close, but are split among the colors.

In my opinion, it would be more intuitive to make all inverts red and leave just the vertebrates as blue. I hope this would be simple to swap, but obviously this is not a hard-hitting feature request, so I understand if it’s not a priority.

Just to clarify a bit: “other animals” isn’t entirely limited to inverts. Here’s what the current coloring scheme looks like:

There are four kingdoms with iconic colors, then orange for two classes of Arthropoda and Mollusca, then blue for five classes of Vertebrata. Then everything in Animalia not in one of the previous categories is also colored blue.

The suggestion is to change that last big box to be orange. This would mean the rest of Arthropoda would be orange like the insects and spiders, but it would also mean, for example, that Elasmobranchii would be orange.

The only way to keep Elasmobranchii in blue and Arthropoda in orange would be to redefine the iconic taxa, which would be a much bigger change than just switching other animals from blue to orange.

Related discussions:


Thank you for the clarification! I had assumed that the “fish” iconic taxon included sharks and lobe-finned fishes, but I can see that that isn’t the case.

I’m not especially concerned with the color of extinct vertebrates like dinosaurs and placoderms, but in my opinion, all vertebrates (or maybe chordates) should ideally be blue and the remaining animals (inverts) red. This could happen by creating an iconic blue “other vertebrates” (maybe keeping the current icon) and swapping the “other animals” to red with a generic invert-like icon (a polychaete worm?).

If that’s not feasible, which it sounds like it may not be, I would still advocate for swapping the color of “other animals” to red, as the majority of these miscellaneous taxa are invertebrates like the red iconic taxa.

Yeah, that seems a bit weird, sharks and other ‘fish-like’ classes not being included in the iconic taxon. I mean, the main function of these is to be of quick use to people who don’t know taxonomy very well and can’t just type in the exact taxonomic grouping they want right? Wouldn’t most people who use it then expect these ‘fishes’ to be included with the fishes and be confused when no sharks or rays appear?

The issue is that each iconic taxon has to represent only a single node in the tree, they’re not set up to cover multiple nodes. And there is no node that would cover ray-finned fishes, lobe-finned fishes, and cartilaginous fishes, but not also include non-fish because those aren’t a natural grouping.

There’s obviously some flexibility, though, since “other animals” is placed at the node Animalia but excludes several taxa. “Fish” could hypothetically be redefined as “vertebrates except all the tetrapods.”

But isn’t the same thing true for the reptiles iconic taxon? That one includes crocodillians, which should really be placed in the same group as birds for the same reason.

The current structure of iNat’s tree is probably the big problem here. iNat doesn’t have a tetrapod node, and reptiles/birds aren’t defined in the modern phylogenetic sense. Changing the nodes at this level in the tree is extremely hard on the database, so requests that require these kinds of changes are unlikely to be implemented, especially if they make the tree less phylogenetically “correct”.

If this change goes forward, can I please add a part 2 to it.

In addition to differentiating the colours of the different groups (under whatever breakdown gets decided), can you please make it so the actual structure of the pins is different for the different groups.

A pin with a flag on top for on, a pin which is a star for another group, a triangle for another etc.

All the colour changes in the world dont help us colour blind folks separate them.