Is there a place in iNat or the forum to consolidate research?

I’m still new here (but very much enjoying the app and the community) apologies if this has been covered before. I’m sure there are quite a few folks that spend time researching identification. Is there a place (other that the observation itself) where research on distinguishing characteristics or ranges could be kept and, ideally, crowdsourced?

As an example - I spent some time trying to distinguish Acmon and Lupine Blue which I summarized in this observation. It was only by accident I ran across some relevant info in another observation.

If this is outside the scope of iNat I’m good with that - but I wanted to get feedback from the community on the best way to make this type of info available.


I would suggest reading and chiming in on this topic and maybe some of the related topics linked therein.

What some folks do, lacking the more organized functionality being discussed, is create journal posts for specific ID information, and put links to those posts in relevant observation comments etc.


I love the idea of a that someone talked about in the thread Jim linked to. In the meantime, to what extent is Wikipedia an appropriate place to record some of this kind of information?


I would say that iNat already does handle range information really well. On each taxon page is the map tab which offers a minimum of 3 different sources of information on ranges:

  • from iNat observations
  • from observations which will cover way more data sources
  • dedicated range map (not available for everything, usually only at species levels)

In terms of using Wikipedia, one of their guidelines is that they are not a guide, I can’t find it, but it is in their ‘what Wikipedia is not’ documentation. So were you to add it there, you risk it being deleted by another user enforcing their interpretation of the rules.

As I understand it, description of morphology is allowed, but comparisons etc are not. So adding that an American Lady has 2 prominent underwing circles is fine, but then adding this contrasts to Painted Lady which has 4 is unacceptable.


Yes, “Wikipedia is not a “how to” book”.

However, it is possible to have a section in a species article called “Related species” and you can put info in there with links to those species, as long as you don’t say “This is how you tell the difference between A and B.” It’s all a question of how you do the wording. It must not be obvious that you are telling people how to ID something.


I don’t know how much of a help I would be, but I would love to help if it comes into development ;)!

Thanks, that’s pretty much what I had in my mind.

Thanks - I was unaware of some of these resources. I was, however, looking for additional information from the literature. From my quick glance, I’m not sure how useful these are:

  • from iNat observations

That I was aware of, and is quite useful

  • from observations which will cover way more data sources

It’s a bit hard to navigate and the butterfly ones I checked are primarily from iNat

  • dedicated range map (not available for everything, usually only at species levels)

Not sure what you mean my this - there’s the map “tab” but I thought that was just iNat observations. Am I missing something on the taxon page (of Lupine Blue for example)?

On the top right corner is the overlays. Click the GBIF. You will notice this is somewhat different (for this species).

As I noted, no every species has one. If it does, it is the pink overlay as in here :

I also did not note that there is the checklist map, where as you zoom into the map you get greater detail, in North America down to county (or equivalent) where green means it is on the checklist for that place and has iNat observations and brown means on the checklist but without iNat records.

GBIF has over 1 billion records, iNat is around 35 million, so GBIF will always feature more, but what percent come from iNat will vary depending on the other data sources they integrate from (either regional or taxonomic).

If you need more specific additional butterfly data in North America, then e-butterfly is another option which I am unsure if GBIF integrates.

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