How To Enter a Photo of a School of Fish (same species)

Apologies if this has been addressed before, but as a member of the tiny (but, growing!) minority of scuba divers who regularly submit photos of marine life, I recently came across a photo I took of a school of fish (all the same, known species) and it got me wondering, what are the various options for submitting the photo?

  1. Submit a photo of the entire school, but enter it as a single sighting of one–ignoring the rest of the fish in the photo.

  2. Crop the photo to show only one fish

I’m guessing it’s the second option–because if you crop the photo, no one will even know the others were there.

Am I correct?



Do #1, there is no need or reason to crop.

Under the strictest reading of the definition of an iNat observation even if you submit a school, the observation is technically only for one individual in the photo, but it is not enforced to having a single individual in a picture.


Either option works. Technically each observation is of an individual organism, so if the school is all the same species, it doesn’t really matter - the observation is for one of them. If a photo has multiple species in it, you can use the photo for multiple observations, but please indicate which organism the observation is for. For example, that’s what I’ve done here and here.


I usually upload both under the same observation, mostly because having an additional cropped image might let people see details that are otherwise too small in the full image.

I don’t really photograph fish, though with swarming terrestrial bugs, I sometimes duplicate one photo into multiple observations when the animals shown have very distinct physical differences (age, sex, etc). For example, this ant family:


Both ways are technically correct but i would suggest you upload the whole school - this will me more informative. iNat is useful for more than just counting sightings. That’s why - if i have - i upload more photos (than needed for ID) in order to illustrate different aspects of behaviour and environment. I will sometimes upload a closeup for better ID and a wider angle for information about the surroundings. Someone might be interested in the schooling behaviour of fish and will be grateful you illustrated it. Also, you can use the observation field “Number of individuals” to provide a rough estimate of the number of fish you saw.


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