Let's Talk Annotations

You can’t add “male” or “female” without seeing one, because e.g. if there’s a nest with eggs there’re good chances one of the partners are dead, I found nests with chicks and only a male feeding them for a long time, I wouldn’t add a female there.
If they’re on the shot then it could be added that way, but I imagine a complicated situation with many observations of mating pairs or parents and offspring already being uploaded separately and that way be annotated as 1 individual (or set of similar ones).

Is it possible to add “Male and Female” or Alive and Dead if there are two organisms of the same species in the photo.

Not in the current system, because:



I’ve been running into this a bit lately as I’ve been annotating Lepidoptera. In the present “just one choice” setting, should I label these records as “Egg”, as “Adult/Female”, or just leave them blank ahead of some future change? (Since egg-laying is the activity I’d be inclined to label as Egg but have been holding off.)


That’s a good criteria.

Personally, I usually go to the gallery and see which annotation is under represented: In the example, if there were a lot of shots annotated as eggs, but not many annotated as adult female, I might annotate it adult female rather than egg. Ditto for birds’ nests that show both hatchlings and eggs together.


I’d like to suggest adding a ‘disease’ annotation. It seems like it could be pretty globally useful, and potentially very impactful for monitoring and conservation projects? I’m thinking specifically about Scleractinian coral diseases, and will probably use an observation field to specify exact diseases, but an easy-to-use Annotation of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would go a long way for filtering observations.

Wanted to dig this request out again. I am interested in unterstanding if these kinds of annotations for social insects would be easy to implement and what speaks against having this feature displaying the seasonal distribution of the three adult types. @tiwane You think something like this is possible?

I’m not an expert, but I figure the taxa with eusocial members could easily be outlined: Formicidae, Apis, Bombus, Meliponini, some Crabronids and Vespids plus the unrelated Termites (Isoptera).

Especially for ants and bumblebees I would imagine these additional data quite valuable, e.g. to see which ant species swarms when during the year, or when the first worker bumblebees appear.

The display might then look something like this:


Just a note that the sex annotation also shows up for archaea, bacteria and viruses. This doesn’t make any sense at all, since prokaryotes can’t even reproduce sexually (don’t undergo meiosis/fertilization) like eukaryotes, and viruses certainly don’t either. In contrast, the sex annotation does NOT show up for fungi, which do undergo sexual reproduction (with mating types instead of males/females). It probably should be removed from archaea, bacteria and viruses as well since it doesn’t apply there - even less than for fungi.

Also, I’ve said it before but I’ll mention it again: It would be awesome to have an annotation for sporophyte vs. gametophyte for seedless plants sort of as a way to add phenology annotation to those (with the option to choose both, e.g. for mosses). It wouldn’t make sense to add this for seed plants since the gametophytes in that case are microscopic and unlikely to appear as observations. But then, flowering plants already have their own phenology annotations so that is covered.

And finally, since the majority of plants (>90% of flowering plants) are bisexual/hermaphrodites, it would be nice to have that as an option for sex. According to a publication by Renner & Wong in Syst.Biol. 50:700–712 , 2001, only about 6% (14,620 of 240,000) of angiosperm species are dioecious and therefore have separate male and female individuals. So right now, iNat offers an annotation for the 6% that are unusual but doesn’t apply to 94% of angiosperm species the way it is set up (you can only choose either male or female but not both).


For Birds, the options for age in birds are Juvenile, Adult, and Egg. Immature is a different stage of life than Juvenile, and I believe it should have its own section in the drop down menu. I don’t know if this has previously been brought up.

Yes, many times, to be short.) Still a needed addition, as teneral stages in insects that are shown for Odonata, but not other orders.