Incorrect local taxon names on observation page <title> element (tab labels, bookmarks)




All of them: Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc… (It’s not a problem with the browser; it’s the HTML that iNaturalist is serving.)


See explanation below.

Screenshots of what you are seeing

Description of problem

The iNaturalist website is designed to display different local names to accord with regional variations:

The language and Place preferences in your account settings will change how common names are displayed on the site.

I have my language and place preferences set for Canada. (i.e. “Prioritize common names used in this place”)

For the most part this works, however I noticed that although all of the places where the local name are displayed within a page will match, the <title> element, and thus browser tabs, or bookmarked observations, often contain the wrong name for my locality. This issue can be observed on *.ca and *.org when I am logged (with preference set to “Canada”) in and only on the *.ca domain when logged out.

Example 1

I have an observation that I added recently, for Xestia c-nigrum:

On these I see two names:

  1. Lesser Black-letter Dart (the name show on
  2. Setaceous Hebrew Character (that appears to be the global or US name for the moth)

When I am logged in, both the *.ca and the *.org sites show the same pattern. The observation page’s <title> gives the following:

<title>Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) from Kamloops, BC, Canada on May 27, 2021 at 12:30 AM by Jeffrey Murphy.

Seen at night outside; attracted to the light. 
 · </title>

Further down in the HTML file, there is the data for the other name displayed, as shown at the top of the page and in the screenshot:

<span title="Lesser Black-letter Dart (Xestia c-nigrum)" class="SplitTaxon taxon species Insecta has-com-name parens">
  <a class="comname display-name " href="/taxa/203342" target="_self">
    Lesser Black-letter Dart
  <a class="sciname species secondary-name" href="/taxa/203342" target="_self">
    Xestia c-nigrum

Example 2

The same problem also occurs with observations of Clintonia uniflora:

Here’s the <title> element from that page:

<title>Bride's Bonnet (Clintonia uniflora) from Pinecone Burke, Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, 
Canada on May 15, 2021 at 12:46 PM by John D Reynolds.

Burke Mountain Regional Park, BC, Canada
 ·  iNaturalist </title>

Elsewhere the name remains correct: <span title="Queen's Cup (Clintonia uniflora)" class="SplitTaxon taxon species Plantae has-com-name parens"><a class="comname display-name " href="/taxa/76401" target="_self">Queen's Cup</a> <a class="sciname species secondary-name" href="/taxa/76401" target="_self">Clintonia uniflora</a></span>

Taxon Pages

The issue appears to affect the <title> elements on all observation pages, however it does not affect taxon pages, e.g. Lesser Black-letter Dart (Xestia c-nigrum) has the following: <title>Lesser Black-letter Dart (Xestia c-nigrum) · iNaturalist </title>, both on the *.ca and *.org when I am logged (as expected) in and only on the *.ca domain when logged out (as expected).

Problem Duration

That moth observation just reminded me to finally write up a description of the issue, however it’s an issue that has been around for several months at least and probably longer. I first noticed it last fall, after updating the name of Clintonia uniflora.

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Page title on observation detail page does not follow local common name preferences