Research grade obs with multiple photos showing different species

Just looking for some advice here from the perspective of identifying things: What’s the best way to handle observations you come across that have multiple photos each showing different species (e.g. a flower, a mushroom, a bug, and a moss), but somehow have managed to achieve research grade?

Usually these linger as unknowns or in the “life” category and I just leave a comment suggesting to separate the photos to give each species its own observation for IDs. Every now and then, I notice one that is research grade, sometimes with a comment that the ID is only for picture A and the other photos are showing X, Y, and Z.

That’s great info but I’m pretty certain these observations with a bunch of photos showing different species should not be research grade. What’s the best way to handle these from an identifying standpoint? Is it something that should get flagged? Or does it not matter?


Re-id them, mark them can be improved>yes if there’re many ids.


Are these photos of different observations rather than a fly on a flower? If the former, @fffffffff seems to have a good solution. I often post observations of insects on flowers without identifying the flower/plant.


You will have to put an ID which encompasses all the photos (like “Plantae” if they are all plants or “life” if it is a true mix) and then when the pop-up appears, select the orange option for explicit disagreement. I did have an observer chew me out for this one time, so if the observer seems to be an active user, you might choose to try talking to them first. Of course, they might also read your comment without replying, and then you’ll never know if the photos got fixed or not, whereas if you knock their obs down from research grade, that will definitely motivate them to speak up when they have fixed it. Given that scenario and since it’s so easy for me to withdraw the high ID once it’s no longer needed, I’m not sorry for doing adding it right off the bat.


Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Yes, these are cases with what should be different observations that probably accidentally got combined into a single one. Each picture typically shows a different organism/species.


There’s some text that was written to inform/help observers fix these situations:

(the responses could probably use some tweaking for tone; happy to take suggestions and implement changes on that wiki for people who aren’t curators)


Oh and I have a tutorial about how to split up photos that I like to paste the link for:


There are obviously as well those “Interaction” observations which we here in ZA duplicate and ID the interacting “active” and “passive” part and then link it with the “Project” Interaction (sAfr)

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I typically don’t give an ID but rather a comment that goes along the lines of:

“An observation consists of a single specimen at a particular time only, yet you have multiple species within one observation. Please consider making separate observations for each of these photos.”


Funny you should mention that because this is my own “boilerplate” response as I mark those Life and/or “can’t improve”:

variable species per photo


Same here. I mark them as specifically as I can given the diversity in the photos (e.g. plants, animals, or just ‘life’) and mark the observation as can’t be improved. This marks the observation as ‘casual’ when it gets more than one ID (e.g. if someone agrees with me that they are all plants).
If the user later comes and splits them up, a simple tick to the ‘can be improved’ box will counteract my vote, and the observation will be out of the ‘casual’ area and back in the ‘Needs ID’ area.
It’s a shame because some of the observations are really lovely.


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