Observation needs?

Something really odd happened to me this week. I made two observations that were both first iNaturalization records for my state (TX). I don’t necessarily think either species is unusual or rare… just simply not observed apparently. I also ran across a social media post where someone was requesting ID assistance for a species that wasn’t really rare in my state, but iNaturalist only had a few records for my state. It got me thinking about what species might be significant to research, not necessarily scarce, but simply don’t have many recordings in iNaturalist.

Is there a place to find out what observations are in need or being requested other than sort projects for interest? Does the iNat forum sometimes serve as place for science to communicate species of interest for projects? A “wants” list so to speak?



There is no real “wish list” functionality. If you go to the place page for any place and then click on the checklist from there you can filter to species on that checklist which have no observations in that place. It works best for locations that have made a serious effort to populate their checklists. This really does not appear to be the case for Texas as it currently has about 2000 unobserved species on the checklist.


By way of comparison my home of Ontario which is less biodiverse has over 8000 unobserved species on our checklist since a serious effort has been made at populating it.


Makes sense. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

Thanks for the tip on filtering. This helps.

I appreciate it!


Often if a researcher is active on iNaturalist they will mention on their profile what taxa they’re interested in, offer to help identify those groups, say that they’ll accept specimens to identify, etc. For example from @derhennen’s profile he evidently would be excited if someone finds cool millipedes.

Other than that, yes projects can indicate what taxa people are looking for although it can be harder to tell unless the researchers are really engaged. I think a thread here would be cool, although I feel like it might be underused since not many people are active on the forums. I’d say try to observe and identify as many species as you can in your area and you’re bound to find obscure underobserved things.


That’s really cool. I hope I can contribute to the Texas species too. I’m in Tyler Co and I mostly focus on plants.


Another thing you can use to try and find unobserved taxa is the compare lists tool. You start at :

And then gradually fill in the 2 query boxes with the parameters from a search. It’s experimental/not supported. Anything beyond 500 taxa causes it to perform inconsistenty, so you must filter down to that.

So for example in Query 1 having taxon_id=47224&place_id=18 an in query 2 having taxon_id=47224&place_id=2993 will compare the list of butterflies (taxa 47224) reported from the state of Texas vs Tyler county.

It builds a nasty url like this:

The way to read it is the numbers are the total observations reported. So for example 1562 Eastern Giant Swallowtail records in Texas, but none in Tyler county.

You can click the not in common to see all the ones with no Tyler records.

You mention being mostly interested in plants, obviously that will exceed the 500 taxa, so you can do this if you filter down to family etc


What @upupa-epops said - observe as much as you can and you’ll find much more unseen before on iNat and just rare species, the situation you have is a common one, so go and see things and your state would say thank you if it could.


Asian beauty fungus is one that we could use more observations of. It’s recently entered eastern north america, and tracking its progression would have immediate practical benefits.
It’s not as harmful as initially thought when it entered the ecosystem, but the data is still kind of up in the air/spotty.

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Nice! Thanks for your help.

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