Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks

I have a tip to share that doesn’t really warrant a tutorial of it’s own, but for those I have shared it with it has been well received… so I thought I would start a “tips and tricks” thread. If you like the tips, click the hearts rather than adding “neat trick” comments… and if you have similar tips you think others might like then reply with your own tip. Hopefully everyone discovers something nifty :slight_smile:

If you struggle with learning scientific names, and especially if you have difficulty remembering the spelling of many of them, then one thing that can help is knowing that you only have to enter the first 3 or so letters of each part of the name, and the iNat lookups will usually find your taxa and put it at or near the top of the shortlist that appears. For instance, if I want to enter an ID for a kereru, which is Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae , all I have to enter is “hem nov” and my desired taxon is at the top of the list! That makes it very easy to work with scientific names, and you will find that the more you work with them, the better you will get at remembering what they are. Eventually, just thinking “hem nov” helps remember the full scientific name… and the spelling of difficult ones becomes easier in the same way. Sometimes you have to enter 4 letters of each name to get the desired one to the top of the list, but then again, just having it appear in the top 5 is just as good for helping to learn them! You can change your settings to show scientific names first, and of course vernaculars can be fallen back on until you remember the 3+3 letter combos…

And yes, I know CV is probably eventually going to handle it all for us anyway… :smiley:


The downside of using iNat a lot is that I tend to remember only the first few letters of plant names.


I find it useful to post the family or genus as an ID.
I can then use the “compare” button on that ID to see all the species, while toggling the taxonomic rank and the locality, until I find a match. Very useful for those groups that one is not too familiar with.

The only downside is that this does not show the subspecies. Which is a real pain! Especially when you cannot remember which species have subspecies and varieties, and which do not.


Add annotations in batches during upload. Simply add a corresponding field to your observation(s). For example, if you know its an insect and you know the stage, you can add the observation field “Insect Life Stage” and note whether its egg, larva, pupa, nymph, adult, etc… Upon upload, this will automatically populate the “Life Stage” annotation.


I recently figured out that the 3+3 letter combo also works for common names, too. For example, typing in “Var mea” brings up Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum).

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Yes, it works for any name(s) that have been added to taxon pages, scientific (including synonyms) or common. For some things with common roots I find I have to go 4+4 to narrow down the list. Or one can type any combination, 2+4+3 or whatever seems best.

I’m finding that there are lots more vernaculars getting added and in some cases it muddies up the shortlisting…