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

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

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:

When doing an &unobserved_by_user_id query, is it possible to do a query for multiple users? i.e., create a list of species that have been seen by neither my friend nor I?

Here is an example where I try to search for species of Periplaneta that neither my partner nor I have seen:

As you can see, it just spits out a list of all 12 Periplaneta species currently on iNat, when I wanted it to show me the 9 species that neither of us have seen.

Welcome to the iNat Forum!

I’m not sure without trying it, but if it is going to work, the syntax should be


Just a single comma-separated list instead of two parameter instances.

If that doesn’t work, try using the user id numbers instead of user names.

I’m actually not finding this parameter described anywhere in either part of this wiki. So if it does work, we need to document it in the appropriate category I guess.

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Thanks for the reply! I tried both our usernames, then using our ID numbers instead, but without any success. It is still outputting all 12 species of Periplaneta.

This makes me think that &unobserved_by_user_id= is not actually a supported search parameter in this context, unless anyone else has better information…?

I did some experimentation. Yes, &unobserved_by_user_id= works, and yes, it does support comma-separated lists of usernames. Unfortunately, it appears to join the names with OR rather than AND, so it reports those species unobserved by either user, rather than by both users. So, I can’t see any easy way to get what @hydrophilus is looking for.

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For this specific use case, the compare-tool probably can provide you the required results.

You need to fill out three queries, one for each user name and a third one including all observations.
To enter the correct string for each query, go to the explore tab. Then, filter for the required fields (taxon, user name) and copy+paste everything of the URL after the ‘?’ into the first query field.
Then replace the user name in the next query and remove that part for the third query.

You will find that 9 species are ‘unique’, i.e. neither seen by you nor by your colleague.

Note to add: the compare tool only works when the total amount of taxa does not exceed 500.


Thanks so much, @carnifex! That’s exactly the kind of tool I was looking for.


Surprizingly, adding &endemic allows one to see endemic species (rather than using the longer &establishment_means=endemic used in lists)

So for Spain:
Or southern Africa:

Sorry: this does not work well: it includes a taxon with any status of endemic, so if I select the Cape Peninsula, then it shows endemics to the Western Cape, or South Africa, or even southern Africa.
As a rule though it should be OK for most countries: few higher than country groupings list species as endemic. So while it will work for Spain, it wont work for the Canary Islands (although if you look for those with a green E, then those are valid for your smaller area. )

How do I search for observations with an exact identification taxon (no descendants)?