Is it possible to make taxon photos for all life stages/with all relevant features/parts of an organism?

Hello iNatters,

I am not sure how the taxon photos are chosen - if they are the most favourite photos or if curators choose them - but it would be helpful if the main photos included more sides, parts, life stages and relevant features of given organism that could be compared to your observation photo.
For example when identifying lepidoptera it would be useful to have a photo of a larvae too, which is a case only for few species I encountered. Or when female and male are quite different and there is only a photo of one of them, that surely doesn’t help much with identification.

Cause of this I am sometimes almost forced to choose a coarse taxon even if I am able to identify that species (with photo to compare containing a significant part otherwise my memory fails).


You can change the photos that are on the taxa page. Near from the “Similar species” button, you have acess to “curation”. Click on this and then click to Edit photos. Then, you can add, suppress or move photos ^^


Thanks, I didn’t know about that!
So I can add any photo from the database? Is it controlled or I just have to believe that the species is IDed right? Can I even edit photos for a species I don’t know 100%?


I’d make sure to check that the photos have been correctly identified, whether you personally know the species, or recognize the people who identified the photo as trustworthy.


Something I didn’t realize at first is that you can add photos from specific observations. If you find an observation that has particularly good photos, you can copy the observation number from the url and then put it into the search bar when curating photos. It doesn’t have to be an RG observation.

A LOT of taxa are in desperate need of decent photos to be added to the “about” page, so I’m glad someone else is going to be helping out :)


Putting photos of incorrectly identified species will of course not help to identify it, but if you have very good photos of differents ontogenic stages for a specific animal, plant or mushroom, i encourage you to put them all in “photos chosen for the taxa”. It will help a lot of naturalists for sure ! ^^


If I come across some great photos I will surely add them. How do you do it with the observation number? It doesn’t seems to work for me.

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There is a caveat in that any user can change or add taxon photographs and may undo what you included without any justification or explanation. For example, for the Nile Crocodile I tried including photographs of eggs, footprints, close-ups of teeth, and juveniles alongside the default photo of the adult. Another unidentifiable user kept removing a lot of these photos, and I eventually gave up. A new issue I frequently deal with is that someone keeps replacing the default photos for charismatic species with high-resolution “headshots”, which is very unhelpful for identification since a lot of key diagnosable characteristics are not on the animal’s head.

It’s just something to keep in mind with photo curation on iNaturalist.


This is assuming your’re on the web page version of iNat, not on the app. I don’t really use the app for much:
Every observation has an observation number in the url. to take a random casual observation example- in this observation: the observation number is 45334610. Once you’ve copied it, you go to the about page of the organism in question and click “curation” on the right of the “similar species” tab. Then click “edit photos”, and you’ll see that under “choose photos for this taxon” there’s a search bar. Replace the organism’s name with the observation number, and search. If it doesn’t show the photos, it’s because it’s not research grade (as in this example), so just change the selection under the search bar from “RG observations” to “observations”. Then you should be able to see all of the photos from the observation you chose.

Hopefully that helps!


Tried exactly that. It works now, I must have had wrong type of source selected. But thanks for help.

It’s just quite frustrating that I can’t enlarge the photos in the editor so I could check the quality of a photo. I have to save it, look at the added photos on the taxon page and then edit them again.

Also sometimes the species doesn’t have photos on any of the selectable sources but I know there are quality photos on other external sources - is there a way I can add them? (Or maybe add a link to that page?)


I do not think you can, maybe because iNaturalist do not want to have any sorts of problems with a copyright

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