Problems adding species to checklists

Platform: Website. Browser: Chrome. Problem description: iNat Places each have an existing all-wildlife checklist. There are two options to add species to them to function like a checklist for a taxonomic group like bees: (1) add spp. directly to existing Place lists, or (2) create additional checklists in lists and add spp. there.

Issues with method 2

  • Whenever multiple lists are created and list the same spp., they display twice in Identify Suggestions when set to “checklist.” For example, many Hylaeus genus species in Hawaii display twice, since HI had a Place checklist and Nature serve had made a HI checklist.


  • Some species fail to add to new lists, with error message: “not in taxon bees” (parent taxon), even if they were already added to the default Place list correctly and their taxon page taxonomy is correct.

  • Another limitation is RG obs. don’t auto-add spp. to separately-created checklists (unlike for method 1), I think.

Issues with method 1

  • When filter searching the list for bees (taxon search box) and then adding new spp., some don’t get categorized under “bees” somehow, so can only been seen if filter searching their name specifically in the whole list. This itself doesn’t affect Identify (all still show) but makes it difficult to find and be aware of all the spp. when inside the Place list.

Other related:

  • Some countries have multiple Places, which I wonder if could also create duplicate-related or other problems, e.g. Guam.

  • Will spp. duplicates occur in Identify checklist-Suggestions if spp. are added to both a Place’s checklist (e.g. country) and to the checklist of a separate constituent Place? (e.g. county, state, island, region)

Summary and suggestions

  • To avoid all current problems (if nothing changes), using method 1 seems (currently) best, and has the advantage of being synced to RG obs., which add additional new spp. whenever observed. Yet using method 1 alone may cause problems with constituent Places’ lists, and some spp. don’t get categorized into their parent taxon when added to any Place list. Finally, some Places are listed multiple times or missing.

  • In the interest of checklists having a positive effect on Identify, it would be best to determine what to do now and if any later changes if planned would change anything. We’d mostly like to avoid any checklist work done now needing to be redone/deleted later.

Additional different-Place examples of duplicates:

I just recently discovered checklists and wasn’t aware of them before. They look like a useful tool for identifiers. I came across this blog post with proposed changes: https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/43337-upcoming-changes-to-lists

Can someone from the admin side of things comment on where this stands? It seems that phase 3 and 4 are still in the works? Will they happen? If yes, then creating checklists like this for places may be a moot point at this time and it might be better to wait until the new ones are rolled out.

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This is also an issue with bees of Pennsylvania. A new checklist was created with all PA bees. If you use the “compare” button and then have “source” = checklist then species that exist in both checklists occur twice in the results.

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Good suggestions, although this bug report isn’t moot regardless of if we end up using this method to create lists, because it’s affecting all list including those others created already. I also have come across bugs when simply adding species to the default all-wildlife list each Place already has. When I filter search within a Place’s all wildlife list for bees and add all the species I need to complete a list, often some don’t get categorized (can’t be searched) under bees. They have to be searched in the main list of all taxa by genus or species name, which makes them difficult to find. So, we seem to be encountering technical issues with either of the two methods (adding to all wildlife lists, or creating separate lists).

Adding to the question list: why can’t iNat or the external databases it searches find matches for some species (when adding to checklists)? Is there anyway to contact the linked database(s) iNat uses as a source to add spp. directly there (which would then be reflected in iNat taxonomy)? While I’ve been doing trials adding large bee lists, about 30% of the species can’t be added (many in total).

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I use checklists a lot while identifying, and have been running into some where the same species shows up, 2, 3, 4, or even more times in the list.

I’m also having a different problem with adding things to checklists, not sure if I should make a new thread or keep it all together in this one, but here goes:

Comprehensive list Rosaceae of San Mateo County, CA, US (Source: Calflora 2012) is lacking a number of species despite them appearing on the overall county checklist (https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/4894-San-Mateo-Check-List). I tried to add Fragaria chiloensis to the main list before I realized it was already there and just not carrying over to the other list, and got this:
image

However, clicking “Add” does absolutely nothing.

The main cause I noticed for this is when species are in multiple spatially nested checklists, like in checklists for a country and ones for the state and city it encloses. But, this mostly seems to occur when someone creates a new checklist, vs. simply adding species to the existing checklists Places have. As a result, I’ve been creating “bee and wasp” checklists just by adding the species to the existing corresponding Place checklists. Fortunately, it’s possible to filter a Place checklist by a taxon like Bees, which can give you just about the same thing as creating a new separate list would.

For checklist issues in general I’ve run into a lot, which I described above. In particular when I’m adding a large list like a bee species list for an entire country, iNat can’t find about 10% of species even in external sources, and another 10% or so which are added somehow don’t get correctly categorized as Taxon: Bees. So, the current issues make it almost not worthwhile to add large checklists at this time, so I’ve only been doing it piecemeal and at times. Still, checklists are very useful for ID, which is why I haven’t completely put my checklist activity on pause. Staff plan to revamp checklists in the future (unsure when), so I assume that means checklists must just be used “as is” for the time being, i.e. technical issues might not be fixed currently.

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Good to know they plan to revamp them, I hope it’s sooner rather than later!

I should add, the species I mentioned, Fragaria chiloensis, used to be in all the appropriate “Rosaeceae of…” county checklists last time I was IDing that species, and now seems to have disappeared from all of them, which is quite bizarre.

Is there any way to choose which checklists it pulls from? It looks like the place checklists have the actual correct species for the most part, but whatever list the “checklist” choice defaults to doesn’t contain it.

I only partially know/remember how spatially overlapping or nested checklists “interact” re: questions like that, so also have some related questions. Are you using checklists that Places already have (added by staff/dev, which can be searched for in Places), or checklists that you or others more recently created (which are shown on the bottom right of the checklist page)? My overall inference is that using the former has less issues, vs. using the latter may result in more complications if species overlap between the lists.

I want to ask one open question for anyone too, which may also be relevant to your question: Suppose you’re adding some “species A” to checklists that already exist for Places which overlap and enclose each other, e.g. New York State, New York City, and New York County/Manhattan. Does adding it to Manhattan automatically also add it to NYC and NYS? I assume so. Conversely, if the species was only added to NYS, will it not be added to NYC or Manhattan? If not, this leads me to conclude that it would be useful to add it both to the broad scale and to every finer scale checklist it occurs in. Doing so takes longer, but there seems no way to automate it. Although I’m actually unsure if adding species to a fine scale adds them to broader scales, so in the event not that’s one thing I definitely recommend automating.