Leaderboard species numbers incorrect

Please fill out the following sections to the best of your ability, it will help us investigate bugs if we have this information at the outset. Screenshots are especially helpful, so please provide those if you can.

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Firefox

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&user_id=pfau_tarleton&verifiable=any&view=observers&field:Similar%20observation%20set=First%20at%20Timberlake

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices: https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/):

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: View leaderboard

Step 2: See that species number in leaderboard column doesn’t match actual species number (which is correct in the row above). In this case, 26 species is correct, 15 is incorrect.

15 is the species count (obs at rank species) and 26 is the leaf count – there are a bunch of obs that are higher than species

more details here


Oh. I thought I had read that “species” on iNat is same as the leaf. Makes sense though as some of them could be the same genera which may or may not be different species. However, none of these are the same genus–so they’re all unique species.

only in some places :woman_shrugging:


I wish the leaderboard columns had an additional column for leaf so that we could see what the actual number of unique organisms was–when there are multiple observers. Or am I still not understanding?

Oh…I see. The link your provided states “it is too computationally difficult to compute the leaf count for each.” So instead it just reports actual species taxa counts and ignores any observations identified at higher taxonomic levels.

OK, so “species” on the first row refers to unique taxa (at any level) but “species” on the column header refers to the actual taxon called species. That’s not at all confusing.

There needs to be a link to that page from the leaderboard pages and an asterisk next to the word species leading one to that link.


Or perhaps it would make sense to use different words depending on whether “species” means “distinct leaf taxa” (species sensus latu) or “identified species” (species sensu strictu).

I know the info page indicates that “species” for “leaf taxa” was chosen as being more familiar to novices, but having “species” do double duty like this where users might reasonably expect it to mean the same thing seems to be a common source of confusion – this inconsistency also comes up e.g. on project pages as well as the explore page.


I’ve also been confused by this. But I do think there are some general bugs with leaderboards too - for example, I don’t appear at all on the global leaderboard for birds, despite having a pretty high species and “leaf” count. No idea why I’m just not on there at all (username martin53).

this is not a bug, but rather a consequence of your relatively low total number of bird observations, even though you have a lot of species. When going to https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_id=3&view=observers, it shows the top 500 observers by number of observations. When you then order by number of species, it does not actually show the top 500 observers by number of species, but actually just reorders the existing 500 observers by number of observations. So even though your number of species would put you in the top 75 users, your number of raw observations is outside the top 500, thus you won’t appear on the leaderboard


Thanks so much for the explanation! This has confused me for ages, good to know.

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Just to put more confusion into this: the number in the leaderboard indeed is not the number of leaf taxa, but it is definitely not the number of species either. You can see that easily by choosing an observer and filtering their observations with “rank high species”, to select only observations IDed to species - for me, this gives 5768 species, but the leaderboard field is 5808 (compared to 6683 “species” as leaf taxa). I have played around with filters, but I cannot replicate the number given by the leaderboard in any other way.

It is sort of fun/interesting to look at the numbers, but I have given up on making sense of the differing totals across different pages/formats (the phone app is different too).
I’ve recently come to care less about the numbers and have been going for patterns: I currently have observed 1234 species, according to the desktop version.

I currently have 4299 observations and I’m wondering if I can get to 4321.

Numbers, sums, totals, counts, numbers, numb-ers

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