Lots of observations that seem to have lost their photos

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): MacBook

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

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

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages:

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.):

I’ve been doing a lot of coarse sorting of observations and for the last month or so have been coming upon observations that have no photograph but people have been identifying it anyway. I usually leave a comment in the observation to point it out to them, but it’s happening enough and I finally came on an observation with IDs from people that I recognize as serious identifiers that are in this state. The web site that prompted me to open a bug report is https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50203371

I can add others to the list of URLs above as I find them.

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I don’t know about these specific observations, but I have noticed photos disappearing when they are below a certain ‘weight’. Cropping a photo repeatedly in the Android app seems to make the overall byte count drop below a theshold that makes them ultimately vanish. The threshold would hover around 200 kb, in my experience at least.

Does that qualify as a bug?

I have no idea if it qualifies as a bug. At first I thought it was deliberate to make sure the uploaded pictures are good enough. In the meantime I have noticed however that if uploaded via the website, there seems to be no such limit. Perhaps it was a glitch in a previous version of the Android app?

Unfortunately this observaiton is old enough that we don’t have logs for it anymore. If you see it with recent observations (in the past month or so) please let us know.

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I’ve been commenting on observations that seem to have lost their photo asking them to reply here if their photo disappeared. I’m figuring that if their ID has the ID suggest indicator, they had a photo to ID.


This was the photo I use to upload. I didn’t know it disappeared until you comment. Thanks.
I just try to re-upload the pic to the same observation I made. I see the picture is there, but who know if it might be taken down again.


I have seen many this week (doing Unknown IDs) that have the symbol for an ID selected from the ID suggestions. I commented that they should post their URL as a reply here if they did, in fact, have a photo that later disappeared. I hope you don’t get flooded. Or maybe I do. It’s hard to know which way to root in this situation.

What’s the URL of this observation?


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Thanks! In that specific case, the observation was created via Seek (check out the right-hand side):

When Seek posts an observation to iNat, it uses separate processes for creating the observation record (ID number, date, locaiton, etc) and for uploading the photo. So depending on the user’s connection or if the user closes the app, a photoless record can be created.

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Good to know! I don’t look very often to see how they were created but I’ve seen observations made with the mobile apps with missing photos too.

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