Is there a way to see what species have no observations?

I think it would be interesting to see what species have never been observed on iNat, it could be a fun challenge for people to find observations of species which have none.

Any way to find that info?


There is no search I am aware of that allows it. If a class or other level is locked to a reference (such as Birds, Mammals, Fishes, Reptiles, Spiders, Dragonflies etc), on the taxonomy page for the species, there is a tab called Trends, where one of the things it shows is ‘Wanted’ species which are ones that have no observations.

However, it only shows 12 species, and always the same 12 (ie if you refresh you wont get a different list). If you gradually drill down, (ie go from Birds, to Caprimulgiformes to Trochilidae) the list will gradually become more specific, but once you get to genus, there is no way to get more than 12.

It only works if a class is locked into a reference, so wont work on most insects, plants etc.

One weird/very time consuming way to do it is to search for parts of species names, e.g. ‘odon’ or ‘phyto’. If you search for these fragments you can see all taxa that have them in their name, and it says how many sightings there are of them. See this link as an example:[]=taxa

And to expand a little on @cmcheatle’s response, some of the locked groups are “complete” – all known species in those groups (birds, mammals, etc.) have been added to iNaturalist. For those groups, it would theoretically be possible to do what you are asking, if the capability existed.

But for other groups, like plants and most insects, iNaturalist is very INcomplete – many species names are not even in iNaturalist, and likely will only be added if and when needed for new observations. So for groups like this, it may never be possible for iNaturalist to provide a complete list of species that have no observations.

Actually all the locked groups are complete, it is one of the criteria in order to lock a group.

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So all known spider and dragonfly species are in iNaturalist? That’s impressive!

Well, all the ones at their respective defined references are entered.

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That makes sense, it’s too bad though that most species get added as sightings happen, it would be fun to try to download a list of unobserved species before going for a hike and trying to find them. I’m guessing there are a lot of unappreciated species out there that get mostly overlooked, like grasses, that wouldn’t be especially hard to find.

I’ll check out the ‘Wanted’ species and locked groups some in the meantime, thanks for the info.

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If you are lucky enough to live in an area which has had a high quality external checklist added, you can also go to the checklist for that area, and see the species not yet observed. For instance in the province where I live, there was such a checklist added, and this is the list of species on it with no records for the province yet

Ontario missing species

But that depends entirely on the quality of the location checklist.


We have dedicated groups CREW - who have a list of plants they are looking for each month.

I wish there was, it would be awesome!

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