First observation on iNat of a certain species

Hey there, I was wondering if there is some sort of alert when a first observation of a certain species gets uploaded to iNat. This seems like an interesting feature, and I hope staff atleast has this.

The reason why i’m asking, is because I’ve recently uploaded a first on iNat ( and instantly uploaded a second one of the same species ( Anywho… that’s not really relevant.

I just think it would be a cool implementation, and was wondering what other people think of this.


It would be nice to know this, but as far as I know there is no alert. Some clues are when the species is not in the taxonomy yet, or when it doesn’t have a taxon photo yet.


“first” can be sort of squishy in iNaturalist, since you have so many different dates – observation date, submit date, various variants of identification date – that could be used as the basis for judging “first”.

i remember coming across an observation (A) of a particular gall that was submitted for the first time to iNat a few years back. but the first identifier labeled it as a plant, and it took almost a year to overcome that plant ID. meanwhile, another observation (B) was submitted and reached research grade.

so in that case, A was the first submitted and the first to get an ID for that gall wasp, but B was the first to be identified as the wasp at the observation level, and it was also the first to reach research grade. so which one should the system have labeled as “first” and why? (if you think A should be labeled “first”, then would you have labeled B “first” first before taking “first” away from B and giving it to A?)

taxon changes can also muddy the waters when taxa are split or merged…


It happens quite often if you are interested in groups that are obscure enough. E.g., brambles (for me) or some hybrids of more common species.

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I guess first upload would be more appropriate. But then you also have the case of e.g.: You uploaded a picture of 2023. That one is the first upload. But then I later upload a very old picture, of lets say 2011. They’re both the same species. But which one was first? Since one of them was discovered earlier than the other. But that one didn’t get uploaded first.

There is this project, " First Known Photographs of Living Specimens," It confines the “first” to the actual date of the image.


so how would you have handled my example? specifically:

It’s only partially relevant, but recently I discovered that an iNat user created a tool that allows you to order your observed species by their total number of observation - and this in turn allows you to easily see, which species have been observed only by you so far. If you check this once in a while, you will see when you get a “first”.

I was quite delighted to see that I have 10 such species already!


I would say that B is first, but the rightful first would be A. So like in the system it would say B as first. (A is kinda like the people’s hero in this case, the people know A is first, but B is the one that gets the credit).

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That is such a cool tool. Who is the one that created it?

I also wonder if this exist for countries, because I’ve gotten a lot of obs, which are a first for my country.

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according to this post: iw was forum user elias105


i don’t think anyone has written anything specifically for this. so then the best way to do this is probably to compare your own observation counts by taxon vs those for a given place. probably the most reliable way to do this information is using GET /v1/observations/species_counts in the API. here are examples of a page that will get you those results in a human-friendly format (and allow you to export to CSV, for, say, comparison in a spreadsheet):

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Can you search for a specific kingdom? Else that seems like a tedious searching process.

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yes, you can search using whatever parameters the API handles. for example, you would just add &taxon_id=1 to filter by all animals.


I was just wondering the same thing. Two weeks ago I lodged an obs for Macropteranthes leichhardtii commonly called bonewood.
I did a search to see if how many other records there were for this species, and to my surprise (and delight), I found mine was the first one. I found this surprising because, although this species is confined to a fairly small area, it is an easily recognisable small to medium sized tree. It tends to dominate the ecological communties it grows in, known as “bonewood scrubs”. These are of interest for conservation reasons since they have been extensively cleared in the past. Furthermore this specimen was growing next to a road in a frequently visited national park close to a campground. I think it is well worth doing a check of your obs to see how many firsts you have scored.


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