Data not showing up in Observation Field

I have a recurring problem with the “Host Plant ID” field in the Leafminers of North America project I created. I enter the host plant ID when I upload a photo, but then when I view the observation the field is blank and I have to reenter the host plant ID to get it to stick. I’m not the only one having this problem; see this post for example:

In this post (, Jason Dombroskie attributes the problem to weak cell phone reception, but my posts are all from my home computer so that’s not the (only) problem.


When you say “Data not showing up in Observation Field” and “when I view the observation the field is blank” – do you mean that the observation field is present but without an ID entered? Or no observation field is displayed at all?

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I suspect what happens is that the app sets the field contents to the descriptive text name of the taxon, but it is a taxon field which normally stores a number - the taxon’s database entry number (eg “48086” for Leaf-miner Flies So on some pages, or when you go to edit the field it shows as blank (as the field is defined as only allowing taxon numbers). In other places you see the text contents, but it isn’t linked to a taxon.

On “The Chase” (a UK based quiz show) last night they had the question of what makes leaf mines, multi choice with the right answer given as “caterpillars”… I would have been stumped from thinking they could also be flies (not an option given), but then noticed that the only invertebrate option was caterpillars!

The observation field is present but with nothing entered.

I’m not sure I understand your explanation of the problem, or what the solution would be, but I have noticed that sometimes when there is something in that field, it is just the plant’s common name, and without a link I can click on to find out what species is being referred to (here is an example:

The solution is a bug fix in the app, if my diagnosis is right.

The example you link to shows exactly what I mean when you try to edit the field - it then shows the value as blank, because it is not a taxon number, but text and therefore invalid for that field type.

It maybe that the app is working fine, but sometimes people are just typing the species name, but not clicking on the taxon that comes up, so the app can’t store the taxon number and defaults to storing the (invalid) bit of text that they typed. This is the same process that results in a lot of ‘unknown’ identifications on the website (there is text there describing the species, but an actual taxon has not been selected).

I see. Well, that may be one of the things that’s happening, but I have had this problem on my PC (not using the app), and each time it has happened to me, I definitely selected the taxon number rather than simply typing in the plant name.

Ok, this is when using the website upload page? All the examples above are from the app.

Can you point us to an example created from your PC (or alert us next time it happens, before you fix it) ?

I haven’t uploaded many photos to the project myself, so now that I think about it, what I’ve been experiencing personally is when I add someone else’s observation to the project (on my PC), I get the prompt to enter the host plant data, and when I do that, it doesn’t stick and the field doesn’t show up when I next look at the observation.
For an example, I just added this observation to the project:
I entered “Cornus (Dogwoods)” into the host plant ID field when I got the prompt, but the field now isn’t displaying (I tried refreshing the page).

The functionality of the manual add observation to project screen is a little clunky in my opinion. When a project has observation fields to fill in, it brings up that window getting you to add the fields - BUT you not only have to enter the field data, but you must click “ADD” next to the entry after each field. Then finally click the bottom add to project button.


I have always thought that clunky too…

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