Is it okay to create a whole new observation for what you think is a new species?

I have recently found a lot of mushrooms growing around my house. Problem is I don’t know if they are the same species or not… They are around the same size however they have different colours in some areas (e.g. some have dark brown marks while others don’t), or the cap on them is a cone shape/flat top. I am not sure whether to create a new observation or just to put them all under one observation. They are in close proximity to each other so it wouldn’t make much sense to post the same thing twice would it?

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If you photo different individuals that you think might represent different species, I’d say it’s fine – even recommended – to post them as separate records.


With limited exceptions, you should pretty much always post separate observations for separate individual organisms, especially if you can’t confidently field ID them. It can be frustrating for IDers to be unable to enter an ID for an observation because one of the photos is of a lookalike which happened to be in the same general area.


As others have already said, I would err on the side of safety and multiply your observations, especially with fungi. Many related mushrooms have near or totally identical lookalikes, so it is common for people to include multiple species in a single obv. Plus, you’re still technically following the rule of one organism per obv, so even if they are the same, it’s no big deal.


I have read your replies, thank you! I will post those mushrooms with separate observations when I next seem them.


If they’re really almost touching each other I’d bet they’re from the same mycelium, what you describe is a difference between new and old fruit bodies. You can always duplicate observation if iders will say they’re different (hard without pics).


Mushrooms change in shape and color as they develop. I try to go to the same spot multiple times so I can see all the stages of development. It can help with ID and help determine if you are looking at the same mycelium (and therefore same species).

If you don’t know for sure that they are the same species and the separate mushrooms look different, it is better to have each different looking one in a different observation.


To add on, even if it is the same species in the same area there is value in having separate observations for separate life stages. For example, if one individual of the same plant species has gone to seed and another 10 feet away is still in full flower, there is value in documenting that by making separate observations. It looks like there aren’t any such annotations for fungi at the moment; I don’t know if there are plans to add them, but either way it will be easier to annotate in the future if they are split up.


It is valuable, but you also can add multiple plant annotations if you want.

There really isn’t any sort of categories like that for mushrooms. It’s a continuous slow development. Kind of like a flower opening and then ageing (some flowers change color as they age).

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If you suspect they are different species, and definitely apart from each other, post them as separate observations. If it’s one cluster with multiple species, you could have it as one observation and someone IDing might point out they could be distinct, at which point you could separate them.

There’s is no strict way to use iNaturalist, some people will multi-observe the same species in one location, some keep one observation per species. There’s no penalty for having more than one observation of the same species close together, worst case. There’s a personal aspect to it.


Shrooms close together of one species are not different specimens though, their micelium is certainly one for all of them, so they shouldn’t be posted separately if user is sure they’re all one species.

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