Native species won't leave "Introduced" status

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Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.): I doubt it’s a bug, but I can’t get Pistia stratiotes to show up as native to the United States, even in Florida specifically where it is known from pre-human fossil records. Though it is commonly assumed to be introduced to North America, this belief is in error. I’m not sure if this is the correct way to label introduced vs native, but I’ve edited both the United States place data & Eastern United States place data to label it as “Native”. When I checked North America and Florida, it was already listed as native in these places, but it won’t stop showing up as introduced, even in Florida specifically.

The native status of Pistia stratiotes in Florida appears to still be disputed, indeed the overall native range of the species is still in question.

It might be best to avoid changing the status until the debate is resolved.


Same problem with Tarentola mauritanica in Italy

If it’s unknown whether Pistia stratiotes is native or introduced, shouldn’t iNaturalist not have a status for it, except in the places where its status is known? If it’s native, but iNaturalist is saying “introduced”, it’s misleading. Likewise, if it’s introduced, but iNaturalist is saying “native”, it’s misleading. Isn’t it better to just not have a status for those regions in which its status is unclear?

That’s certainly one argument, but as it has traditionally been considered invasive by botanists and ecologists the default would be to leave it marked as invasive until definitive proof comes in that it is not.

Similar to taxon changes, these sorts of changes in status should not be made until unambiguous and widely accepted proof is established. That, unfortunately, takes time.


iNaturalist does not have an invasive status, it’s an introduced status, which is not the same.


Missing the point there.

No, tradition should not be the default. Tradition can be wrong and has been wrong. In fact, iNaturalist’s algorithm slightly favours dissent.

It shows up as native here. I think there may be some kind of caching so after the status is changed it will take a while to be reflected on each taxon page.

Also note that it’s listed as introduced for each Florida county: (but only a curator should change that)

Not tradition, scientific consensus. When the scientific consensus changes that’s when the status should be changed, not when an individual is convinced by an argument, unless that argument is the scientific consensus.

Two of the primary foundations of iNat are science and consensus.

iNat does not favor dissent, it favors consensus, that’s literally the basis for how community identifications work. The way you get to consensus is via discussion, dissent, and agreement.

Scientific consensus changes over time as we gather and evaluate new information, as it should, but we should not be making changes like this in advance of that consensus changing, if it does.

The issue of status changes is similar to that of taxon changes and that of common names.


Believe me, I’m well aware of the “debate”. The problem is Florida Fish and Wildlife. They have a very bad habit of misclassifying native species as “non-native”. And when they do, the entire country just falls in line for some reason, despite their track record. They spent over half a century trying to convince everyone that Flamingos aren’t native to Florida. They are. The evidence isn’t even circumstantial. F&W was just flat wrong. They quietly removed the non-native status of the American Flamingo in 2018, but I still find myself arguing until I’m blue in the face that Flamingos are not an invasive species to Florida whenever I talk to a supposed biologist about them. When it comes to Pistia, it was found at Vero in a Pleistocene deposit. Unless cavemen brought it to America, I doubt it’s non-native.

Yeah, works for me too now. Must just be a delay. I’m still not sure what percentage of a region should be listed as “native” or non-native though. There seems to be some confusion over this on this site. It seems logical to me that if something is native to a location, all the locations that contain it should list it as native, but I’m not sure if that’s what iNaturalist recommends or not.

Btw, in case anyone has any inclination to side with FF&W, here’s the source showing they’re wrong (again):

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