Quick search regarding Observation Fields

One of my personal projects when making observations about insects, has been to link them up to a host plant, simply by adding the plant to the observation fields for the particular insect.

I don’t add the plant species themselves to iNat as often they are cultivated (I always endeavour to mention that the plant is cultivated in notes about the insect).

Is there a way to just enter in a plant species itself, to see the links I have created to all the insects for that particular plant?

I tried entering a plant into the search engine for my personal observations, but because I don’t enter the plants in as observations themselves it came up with zero observations. Shouldn’t they still come up in a search as being linked to an insect that had that plant in the observation fields? Is there some other way to do this?

The reason I ask is that I might make observations of the insects over a number of years and would just like to do an easy search so I can quickly see them altogether.

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If I’m understanding correctly, it sounds like you need to use a different observation field. The ones where you put in the URL don’t help to find certain species. You can see some of the ones I use in these obs:

You can click on the name of one of the observations fields and then “view observations with this field and value” in the pop-up menu.


I don’t know if there is a good way to access this directly, but if you are viewing an observation for which you have entered a particular observation field, you can right click on the observation field name and choose the option to “view all observations with this field and value” and then filter for your own observations. Note that this will only pull up matches for the specific observation field. It won’t include other observation fields where you have also entered this plant as a value.

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You can save/bookmark the URL syntax for whatever observation field you like and then fill in the taxon code with whatever plant taxon you’re interested in at the moment. For example, this is the URL for Host Plant ID = Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia):

The same search for white oak (Quercus alba), taxon # 54779 would be


iNat is really good at recording this kind of information and then searching for it.

On the other hand, the number of fields being unlimited, and everyone can create them, there are many fields meaning approximatively the same thing.

For example, regarding host plants, personally I used sometime Feeding on or Perching on.

I don’t know if it is possible to combine searches on different fields : Feeding on +or+ Perching on +or+ Host Plant ID = taxon_id.
“or” criterion and not “and” (&).

Example : how to cumulate this 3 search :
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&verifiable=any&field:Feeding%20on=55976 (19 results)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&verifiable=any&field:Perching%20on=55976 (0 results)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&verifiable=any&field:Host%20Plant%20ID=55976 (3 results)

I don’t think that’s possible at present. It’s similar to the topic of this feature request: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/add-interactions-to-species-pages/433

In the example you gave, you could go to the three observations with “host plant” and add the “Feeding on” field, if you’re especially interested in that species, which means you could get all these results with a single search. However, for a larger number of results that becomes less practical.

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Hi @lappelbaum. Sorry, I realise I have written my original post in a confusing way but can’t see where to delete it.

Yes, where you have entered “Blue Mistflower” into Observation fields to link it up with the insect, that’s the sort of thing I do.

I don’t understand why I can’t then search “Blue Mistflower” and have that insect come up in connection to it.

I wonder what researchers do if they are trying to search by observation field to find all of the insects that visit a particular plant species. That’s why I have been including them as observation fields after all - not just for my own interest and learning experience, although that has been a side bonus.

I will follow your advice about clicking on the name of one of the observations fields. Thank you :-)

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I’m just interested in one field (in my case it is ‘Interaction->visited flower of’ to see all of the insects that are associated with that field).

For some reason I wasn’t able to do this, or maybe I am misunderstanding your instructions on how to do it :-( .

Ah, I finally figured it out! I was trying to click on the entry in the field rather than the field itself. All sorted now! Thank you - this was exactly what I was wanting to do.


We have this project as a workaround

Although this project was designed on iSpot for southern Africa, it is open to anyone. Please feel free to contribute.

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I did a little digging and figured this out. Here’s the URL for species insects with obs using that observation field where the value is Blue Mistflower. Change the number at the end to get results for a different plant species.


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