Collected insect observations without an exact date

Over the years I have collected a few butterflies and moths that I can’t seem to find anymore in my general area. I was hoping to post my current dead, pinned insects on iNat however, I don’t know what date to put them as seeing how the oldest ones are around 6 years old. How can they theoretically be used for research without the actual date, and is there an option that doesn’t include the actual date?


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Hi Jonny - it is possible to add observations to iNaturalist and just not fill in the date. These observations will be considered Casual grade and won’t show up on range maps by default. Without a date they will be less useful for sure, but someone might find use out of them! It’s hard to know all the ways iNaturalist data might be used. One thing you could do is note the approximate month and year in the description section.


Do you know the month/the week they were collected? The more precise the data, the better of course, but even an “average” date, with the range of possible dates noted, can be helpful. Though that depends on how wide the range of possible dates actually is.


Of course it is very important to label every specimen with the exact location, date and find circumstances. The specimen is basically useless without prober labels. They should not be killed just for aesthetic reasons. (no offense, sometimes data like this get lost by mistake)
However it would be useful to have the option of a date range, especially for specimen collected in traps. I also had a situation where i would have needed that option.


There’s a feature request you can vote for:


I have a similar issue, though it’s with a paratype of Okanagana arctostaphylae that never had a collection date known. It’s a paratype for the species, so it’s hard to get much more research grade than that (well, you could with the holotype), but since there’s no date it’s defined as casual. The specimen was collected somewhere before 1915 and that’s all that is known even to the author. I have another paratype of Obenbergerula paradoxa that has no date (none was ever given when collected), but it’s also “casual” grade despite being a designated paratype. I never uploaded it for that reason.

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It was a while back when all the insects were collected, and while I did have all the necessary data it was all kept in a notebook which has now been lost… I would have to agree that the date range should be added seeing how many of the insects are quite rare for the area, as I would go out with light traps, butterfly nets, and the occasional pit falls all the time gathering quite the collection.

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