Obs Date of dead insects

Today, someone submitted two observations of dead insects. The photos could very well have been taken today but the insects have been dead for some time as neither of the species would be flying yet this year in Ontario. I have flagged both records as “dead” in the annotations but they are still “research grade”. Given that these data could be used to generate flight periods, etc. this would result in inaccurate data. It would be nice to somehow make these records “casual” but I’m not sure what the appropriate method of doing so is. Flagging the date as inaccurate?

iNaturalist observations record encounters with organisms or recent evidence of organisms, so if they encountered the insects today then the date would be accurate.

One exception would be pinned insects, where observers are encouraged to use the date and place where the insect was collected.


marking the observations as dead should be enough to let researchers know what they need to know. it’s ultimately the responsibility of whoever uses the data to check for any potential inaccuracies or out of place data points.
annotating as dead/alive (or fruiting/flowering etc) does not affect the Research Grade status, it just adds more metadata.


If the insects were observed at the location where they died–probably a location within the COVID-19 restrictions that apply in the observer’s locality–the observation deserves RG status.

iNaturalist is enriched by many observations of animal bones, insect galls, dwellings (e.g., beaver’s dams), and other evidence that an animal was present at a location some time in the past year or so.

Good point. Maybe I should be checking “Cannot be determined” in the Alive or Dead annotation box for all my observations of galls.


It’s not messing the data, it is the data itself, it’s a dead specimen at that day, I don’t understand why there’re so many concerns about data, like, researchers do chek what they use, and it’s good we have so many dead things, don’t make things casual because of that, it’s wrong.


Thanks everyone for your comments. Here’s a follow-up question. Does the annotation that the insect is dead get fed out to GBIF? That’s the source that many researchers use for downloading their data to determine flight periods (phenograms). If so, then all is OK I guess. But if not, then I’m still concerned.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.