Search for interactions?

How can one best search for interactions on iNaturalist? E.g., if I am looking for all parasites of a certain host plant? Are there search functions for that?

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You can add an observation field called “host plant” to an observation and enter a species name. If you see an observation with that field and the host you’re interested in, you can click the field name and get a menu of choices, one of which is “View observations with this field and value.” The drawback is that since very few people use this field, you probably won’t get many hits, but at least it’s a place to start.


interactions are not really stored in the system in any standard way. because of that, there’s not a single method to find these.

in the best case, an interaction is stored as a taxon on an appropriate observation field. in that situation, you can query for observation field values (ex.

additionally, there are some other ways to get information stored this way:

some people also capture this information using other kinds of observation fields, tags, projects, observation notes/description, and though duplicate observations tied to the same photo, etc. each of those kinds those kinds of cases requires a different way to get the interaction data. it’s not pretty.


I’d just like to add that a standardized form of this is a popular feature request that the staff is either working on implementing, or at least would like to implement:


One of my only qualms with iNaturalist is that the photo represents the observation, as opposed to tags in the photo representing the observation. Imagine if a single photo could contain tags for an indefinite number of different taxa? It would certainly solve this issue and would cut back on the work observers have to duplicate observations. I’m guess this type of format would require significant change at this point.

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There’s also a handy experimental taxon page on iNat that lists all of the species that interact with that taxon, which iNat gets from GLOBI, the global biotic interactions database. Most of the well-used interaction taxon observation fields on iNat are automatically sucked into GLOBI.

You need to add “?test=interactions” to the end of a taxon page web address to see it.


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