How to use iNaturalist's Search URLs - wiki part 1 of 2

I think it also would be a great pressure on servers to run this search for comment words all the time through millions of observations (and constantly rerunning it) if it would be added? I think muting is the normal option as it doesn’t disturb workflow, but really you could also tell them to get over those notifications, or maybe you could just write in dm of users instead of commenting.

I also think the solution you proposed wouldn’t solve the problem. The identifier is bothered by receiving notifications of new comments you make on observations they already identified, not by seeing your existing comments on observations they have come to identify.


My thanks to everyone for their replies and explanations. Understanding the limits of the server and the inability for the system to “read text” helps a lot for any future search queries I might think of to try or ask about.

I have suggested to the IDer to block me. I also explained that I was going through the backlog, anticipating my project comments will decrease eventually–hopeful, soon.

May we all enjoy our participation on iNat!

Hopefully that will be resolved when we get new abilities to sort and choose notifications (work in progress …)

Strangely, after we talked about this situation, something similar happened to me. A single user began copy-pasting the same comment on all the observations of a certain genus. It’s a perfectly valid comment, talking about what features need to be in the photo to prove the species. But after getting a dozen or so notifications saying the same thing, I ended up muting the user. Probably in a week or two he’ll be done and I can unmute him, if I remember.


I’m using this URL and expect to only get members of Asters and Allies that are not in Subtribe Symphyotrichinae. But I look down the list of species and see multiple species in the genus Symphyotrichum. Does the without taxon ID only work for observations IDed to exactly that and not species that are within that taxon?

It should work for descendent taxa too. I would guess it’s a lingering re-indexing issue, see and loarie’s response.

@loarie can you check on Symphyotrichinae?

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This might be petty of me, but I’d appreciate it if the title of this thread were changed to say “part 1 of 2.” I suffer a moment of confusion every time I read it as “part one-half.”

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Done! I thought it already was that way originally, but I guess someone changed it at one point.

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Can you put parentheses around “part 1 of 2”? I think it was like that originally, and it would look less cluttered.

You mentioned wanting to inform everyone in North America caterpillar obs. of a project. Since there are over 5 million Lepidoptera obs. in N. America, I assume this would result in users getting many repeat notifications (since each person is IDed many, they get a notification from each obs. comment). I haven’t seen your comments but noticed it was happening a lot for a wasps of the world project, where users were being asked to add every global wasp to the project and specify host plant. That resulted in numerous repeat notifications. So I’d generally suggest advertising projects less often on iNat, doing so in select ways, or adding observers’ obs. to the project (which also is a form of visibility), or creating a forum post about it. Also including for the wasp project, it can become too much like a copy paste repeated message to send too many identical comments. In that way, it also wouldn’t be necessary for anyone to block notifications/users.

Thank you, @brian_d, for your suggestion. I am being more selective about when I post a comment about the Caterpillar project. Luckily, the project is only for Eastern North America to the 100th meridian. Also, it is a collection project which only requires the life stage “larva” annotation to be automatically added.

As a winter project, I am going through Lepidoptera observations and adding the life stages whenever they are missing [still working on East Texas and Mexico with 687K+ observations]. I’m learning a great deal about Butterflies and Moths–recognizing eggs, pupa, even, for some, sexes. I also figure it may help other collection projects that may be out there.

I am, actually, drafting a journal post about the value and all around benefits of making an effort to complete annotations with each observation or identification. Imagine the learning opportunity! The research value! More complete collection projects which can become amazing resources!

Thank you again!

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re: searching comments…is there a way to filter for observations without comments?

SCENARIO: I noticed the Frequently Used Responses page section on “missing location” has a link to all observations that have a photo but lack a location:

It occurred to me that it might speed the process if I could filter out observations where someone had already commented to let them know this info was missing.

Is there a way to search a checklist for taxa with unknown establishment means and/or occurrence status? I fix these for our state checklist when I run across them but it would be nice to have a list without downloading the whole CSV.

Is there a search URL that will return a query when multiple similar fields are used in the same search. Specifically, there are several fields that have been created to be used with observations of pollinators with plants such as for Fireweed Chamaenerion angustifolium - 564969
&field:feeding on=
&field:Plant association=
&field:nectar / pollen delivering plant=
& field:name of associated plant=
& field:nectar plant=
I am wondering if these can be strung together in one search.

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it looks like you could string together multiple field parameters in a URL, but they would operate as if joined by AND operators, whereas i suspect you might want them as if joined by OR operators.

here’s an example of a URL with multiple field parameters:


Your suspicion is correct. I am wanting them as if joined OR operators (thanks for giving me the correct lingo to use). The example you gave is good. I just happen to use both of those fields sometimes as a new project I am participating in requires the feeding on field. But, for instance I would like to know all of the pollinators that have been noted to be with a certain plant but know that different fields have been used. I know I can achieve this by downloading a query but it is time consuming.

Is there a way to use &taxon_name= on lifelist URL?

Here it is:

I am trying to change “taxon_id=47158” to “taxon_name=insecta”, but it returns “=full_taxonomy”.

Is there a way to search your lifelist with scientific name in URL?

Did you ever get any info on how to do this? I’m trying to figure out if there’s a way… been noticing quite a few “observations” of things like dinosaurs popping up recently.

i think you’d have the use either the Identify page or the API, but you can probably use the cs parameter to search for taxa with certain status codes like ex or extinct. (i’m not sure what the full list of such codes would be.) for example:,extinct.

i might be missing something, but just searching for the couple of codes above, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of dinos. even this doesn’t bring back many dinos: