Filling in the Gaps

A recent sighting of the week here on iNat was a rare Cicada. People in the article were mentioning filling in the gaps, as in there are zero observations for… whatever. I found that article to be a terrific story. Filling in the gaps with lucky finds. I’ve gotten lucky a few times. To target a gap, I like to look at the taxonomy, and then all subspecies added to the database. Looking to the right, one can hone in on those observations with only zeros and single digits, and those would be gaps. Is there a better way to find gaps? Also, a better way to find the biggest gaps in my area?


Maybe compare GBIF data to iNat data for your region? Where GBIF has records and iNat doesn’t then that gives you a clue where to look for gaps (both in taxa and coordinates).

One could get more fancy and create GIS suitability maps to narrow down best places to find certain species…

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I Found Something That Serves My Purposes

As a resident of Florida, and wanting to find rare animals, I went into “Places” on iNat and plugged in Florida, from there I clicked “View Check List Page”, to the right under “Stats” is “Observed”. By clicking on “No”, for “Observed”, then the blue “Filter” button, one would think the search would present Taxa that could been seen in Florida, but at present time there are zero observations, but instead it presents Taxa with only one research grade observation. For my purposes, I will consider these rare and try to hone in on some.

One other area I found that serves my purposes well, is back on the “Stats” page, is “Threatened”, if one were to check off “Threatened” along with “Any” for “Observed”, you of course are presented with everything with a threatened status, which if I do not have by now, these too would qualify for my list of rare Taxa for me to target.


Aha! I always forget about the checklist functionality on iNat. That is a very helpful trick to see species that lack an observation in your area. I guess I was thinking along the lines of species that have no observations whatsoever in iNat.

Another place to check is endangered species listings for your state: Florida (USFWS) or for instance, Massachusetts (State Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program)

You are right, my original quest was to find multiple Taxa without an observation on iNat.

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