Let's Talk Annotations

Hi, I was wondering whether it would be possible to add annotations for the reproductive phenology of gymnosperms?


well the call of birds can differentiated as common or calling mate sounds(if differentiated).
and we can add another annotation as
Very common
not common but not rare
It should depend upon the observer

Yours is the 7th request here for this - hopefully it will be added.


Hi, another request which might be useful.

I recently came across this thread (https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/plant-phenology-annotation-values/11804) which discussed the need for standardised definitions of plant fruiting/flowering phenology stages.

In addition to wondering whether there has been any progress in establishing a standard set of definitions, I was also wondering whether it would be possible to split the ‘Fruiting’ annotation into several categories, perhaps something along the lines of: 1) Developing fruit present, and 2) Ripe fruit present?

At the moment the period over which a plant is recorded as fruiting can be several months, which is not as helpful as if there was a category for ‘Ripe fruit present’, or ‘First ripe fruit’ as is recorded by the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar project (https://naturescalendar.woodlandtrust.org.uk/), which allows you to analyse year-on-year changes in reproductive phenology more accurately.

Many thanks,


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i think it would be a good idea to add more sex annotations, especially to insects, worker insects in groups like termites, bees, ants, etc; the workers arent technically “female” theyre a third sex that does not reproduce. or even if a species is known to only have one sex like certain species of reptiles, automatically annotating it with the only possible sex would be nice

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A post was merged into an existing topic: New Annotation: Evidence of Presence

Has there been any movement on adding a tool to annotate via the uploader? This is something I still wish for almost every time I upload observations, and I have had at least one person ask me how to do it. Sorry if I missed further conversation about this feature request but my search terms in this thread didn’t pull up any recent discussion.

The feature request for that is here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/add-annotations-when-creating-observations/1513

(and the associated github item is here: https://github.com/inaturalist/inaturalist/issues/2353)


Thanks, that’s what I was looking for. : )

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Great topic. I’d suggest to collect the suggestions in a slightly more structured form - perhaps a table? I have several suggestions, some of them more impactful and in my opinion quite important (e.g. relevant for all insects such as adding “larva” or “pupa” to the Life stage), some of them more niche although possibly reusable across multiple groups of organisms (e.g. various castes for social insects, nest or other types of construction for social insects). There is already ~400 comments in this topic and a lot of my suggestions above were already formulated (e.g. castes by @merav and @brian_d ) so I assume that also other suggestions are becoming repetitive. Organizing the suggestions might help to refine them instead of amassing more and more suggestions. I did not start a google spreadsheet as I though iNat might have other more convenient ways of organizing user inputs but I can do that if it is considered useful.

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I completely agree that adding more annotation to social insect would be great. Just a note that it is actually quite complex - particularly in termites. Workers have a sex despite not reproducing (such as honeybee workers are females, despite having generally the female reproductive organs underdeveloped), but in some termite species there are both male and female workers present in a colony, in some species, the workers can be of just one sex. There is therefore no general link between sex and caste (at least in termites) so in the annotation the sex and caste should be kept separate (at least in termites). Having some pre-defined relationship database which could automatically limit possible combinations of annotations (e.g.: if honeybee worker, than must be female) would be great feature but it sounds perhaps as a possible next layer of feature implementation, after simple descriptive annotations are implemented.


Available feature :
In the identify section, we can click on an observation, then select life stage / other annotation and swipe to the next observation with shortcuts

Problem :
After some thousands life stage annotations, the hand is really hurting due to the “gymnastic” we have to do with fingers to select “L + A” to annotate as Adult then “->” to swipe to the next observation (look at your keyboard, it’s uncomfortable to do it multiple times !). Selecting with the mouse hurts less, but is much more slow.

Suggestion :

  1. Add a click box where we can select what kind of annotation we want to do (for example life stage → Adult), then we can click on each observation we want to annotate as Adult


  1. Add a “Mark all observation as” then a click-box when we can select the type of annotation (life stage or other) and the larva/puppa/adult category:


Dear all,

it would be very nice if annotations like „flowering“ „fruiting“ or „flower budding“ would be added to all members of coniferous trees (because I don’t know how it works).

The only thing I can select right now is wether the tree is “male” or “female”.

For example I made an observation of a fruiting Abies cephalonica (Greek fir), but I’d like to add the annotation “fruiting”: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/81358639

I hope it’s possible to add these extra annotations…

With kind regards,

Sotirios Liakas (@greek_cicada_project)

Conifers don’t have flowers, so it’d be weird to have such annotations, but it was discussed before:

I’d really like to be able to add life stages for plants, particularly for seeds or cotyledon-stage seedlings. Many plants are identifiable at this stage but it’s really difficult to find reference photos for them.


@marina_gorbunova yes, you’re right, they dont have flowers.

I think the idea of @bouteloua is great (I wonder how I didn’t read it before in this topic…).

I find it sad that there are still no specific annotations for conifers. Hopefully we’ll be able to introduce them soon…


I strongly support this suggestion. Constant switching to and fro is annoying. The features suggested by @prunhel will facilitate the annotation process greatly and make observations more valuable.

The dominant generation in all flowering plants are the sporophytes. As sporophytes, flowering plants can neither be male nor female. Just saying.

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I like the suggestion also a lot. If it gets implemented I would like to add that for people who id in the full screen observation display (i.e. after clicking in an observation) it would also be helpful to integrate the life stage annotations in the first tab (“info”) were the ID gets added in some or other way, instead of having a separate tab for them.

I agree, too - it is too entangled to choose life stage annotation - and the same for uploads of more than one shot from exactly the same record. You have to fill in the same data from 3 shots of the same individ ?? - dato and so on. THAT is crazy!

And it is quite important for e.g. ID´ing others Moths larvae, as it is often necessary to be watched from different angles to be ID´ed!

Best regards - Kjeld