Rarest Finds on Inaturalist

I was walking through a bog in my county(Nassau NY) when I stumbled across a rare plant that has not been seen in 28 years in the county. The name is Polygala nuttallii, and it is an imperiled plant in NY. Also there was carnivorous sundews(Drosera), bladderworts, Rhexia, screwstems, and rare gramnoids. Anyone know their rarest finds?


Not sure I’ve got anything that compares to the Polygala ;)
Uploaded a Hydnum albidum a couple days ago, that was a first for atlantic canada. But that’s probably just due to new taxonomy, not rarity if you know what I mean.


I could add the first observation of a rare butterfly to iNat
Baronia brevicornis brevicornis https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/386054


I found a Borneo Guitarfish in a fishmarket (Rhinobatos borneensis). Not only is it the first observation of it on iNat, but it’s so rare there isn’t a type specimen actually in Borneo and no picture existed to be included in the ID book.



These aren’t MY rarest finds…but SOME rarest finds! Apologies for not posting what you asked for! :)

Is there a way to search one’s own observations to find one’s that are the only documented observation of that species on iNat?

Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle

Comal springs riffle beetle

The amazing Rhadine beetles!

Some super cool amphipods!
Ruffo’s Cave Amphipod
Texiweckelia texensis

Leoncita False Foxglove
Known only from this one location

A beautiful new species of chameleon


I mean, I make it a goal of mine to find rare organisms and document them. I honestly couldn’t pick out a single rarest find, though watching two Whooping Cranes perform a courtship dance was pretty great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j351Wp61hrQ is my video of the ritual. These two sucessfully raised a chick this year!


My rarest observation is a Polyergus lucidus queen I found. They are a very rare ant species which enslave Formica hosts.


There’s a project collecting observations of species photographed for the first time altogether (not just first on iNat), including some species new to science:


Over the years I have made observations of numerous species that were in fact the first ever observation of that species on iNaturalist.

However, in most cases that was not because the species is super rare, but because it is almost always overlooked by people: plant pathogens, very small mollusks, that kind of thing.


This percnia ductaria was my rarest find, an iNat first observation. But, that could be because it is from an area with fewer iNat participants. Thank you to @amzamz for Identifying it and letting me know.


Rarest finds of the site are in the project of first photos of species alive.


I found a decent population of leadplants (Amorpha canescens), which are considered critically endangered in my state. They’re in a protected area, but there is a lot of invasive bush clover that could crowd them out.


One of my favorite recent sightings was a wild Walker’s Manioc. They’re sometimes planted in local nature parks, but this was a wild individual I had found while taking a bathroom break years ago. Every time I visited that site I would look for it, but because they are tuberous or I didn’t take exact coordinates, I couldn’t find it again until this year. (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/48052155). I was and still am thrilled.


there are soooo many rare finds when it comes to hoppers (auchenorrhyncha sans cicadas). it is pretty subjective as to what constitutes ‘rare,’ but I think it’s fair to call understudied species rare in a sense as well. it’s not that uncommon for a first live photo to pop up on iNat or BugGuide and it’s not at all difficult to find a rare one if you go out searching since it’s such a diverse group no matter where you are in the world. plenty of undescribed species show up as well. heck, I found one in my back yard in one of the most well-studied regions of the world. and there are lots of things that just stump us. fair number of new U.S. records too.


I have 19 iNat firsts, but the most interesting ones are from Baikal, including a few gobies, amphipods and giant flatworm.



My “rare” find (first observation of the species reported on iNat) was a treehopper that I initially thought was unremarkable. I almost didn’t take a picture of it because I thought it was like other hoppers that I had already observed in the area. It was only after I posted the observation and a hopper expert identified it that I realized the rarity of it. It was a great demonstration of the potential of iNat as a teaching/learning platform and it was really cool to feel that “spark” of discovery from something I observed in my backyard. And it taught me a lesson to not be so quick to overlook and disregard the things that I observe.



One way to consider rare is to take the lowest conservation status (lowest being S1, highest S5). By that token I have two S2s for Ontario: Ebony Boghaunter and Horned Seablite. My rarest self found sighting, not posted to iNaturalist but eBird instead is a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, an accidental for Ontario, 80 accepted records. I had one species, an American Whitebelt, that was a new species for iNaturalist. This is due to a recent taxonomical split in a fairly underreported taxonomical group on iNaturalist – hover flies.


This is one of my rarest finds, an observation of Strymon colombiana, first observation in INaturalist and it also seems to be the first photo of a living specimen of this species because I couldn’t find any other photo on the internet.


For me, probably the smoothback guitarfish, which, if caught somewhere in the radius of where it was being sold, would represent a major range extension for the species, since prior records (and the only other iNat observation of the species) indicate that it’s restricted to the northern Bay of Bengal in the Sunderbans + Bangladesh.

Also in India, I managed to photograph a few iNat first-timer plants, including Elaeocarpus recurvatus and Impatiens phoenicea.

In the US, probably this Southern Plains bumblebee. While there are a few observations of this species in NC, including one other also in the Triangle, it was still shocking when I found the identity of this species because I found it randomly feeding in one of the plant displays outside a Home Depot, probably one of the last places you’d expect to find such a thoroughly endangered species.


Not necessarily a rare species, but more of a rare observation itself: I’ve been digitizing my family photo collection and looked for some that pictured an animal, had a date, and listed a location, and I found a few slides from 1959! They were unfortunately all of introduced (or reintroduced) animals, but I found American Flamingos and a lot of pictures of Rhesus Macaque. They’re both the oldest observation on iNaturalist for the species. I’m going to continue to look for old pictures to post and probably ask my grandparents where they took some pictures, but these are the ones I have now :)