Search by Observation Taxon or Community Taxon

The observation taxon is the ID that displays in all search results and at the top of the observation detail page. The community taxon is the smaller ID on the right side of only the observation detail page. It is the observation taxon that appears as the label throughout the website, not the community taxon. The observation taxon appears:

  • In search results
  • On maps
  • On place checklists
  • In exports (CSVs and to GBIF and other partners)

The community taxon is essentially hidden, only visible on the right side of an individual observation detail page. This causes various issues:

For example:

  • An observation with only one ID at subspecies, variety, or species (and other ranks) can become research grade at that rank because it is the observation taxon that appears in the above places, not the community taxon.
  • For users who opt out of community ID, their observations are “stuck” with their potentially inaccurate ID rather than allowing the community taxon to appear in search results.

It would be helpful to be able to sort and export observations based on the community taxon in addition to the observation taxon.

Yes, definitely yes. (Let’s see if I can find a vote somewhere…)

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Anything at all that would improve visibility of the community taxon would help. One thing that I think particularly makes things confusing (even to those of us who have used iNat quite a bit) is the placement of the Research Grade badge on the observation taxon, not the community taxon. That visually associates RG with the observation taxon, which is incorrect when the two differ, as I’ve pointed out here.


This has been added to the our in-house doc for a revamped explore page. Doesn’t guarantee it will be eventually implemented, but there won’t be any further movement on it until we do rewrite the page. So if you want to close this request, go for it.


Thanks Tony!

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I don’t think this has a ton to do with the taxon page, for me it’s mostly related to Explore and Identify.

I’m happy with the current system to keep feature requests open until they’re implemented or intentionally not being moved forward on.


Whoops, meant explore. Updated my post.


9 posts were split to a new topic: Which ID of an observation is exported to GBIF?