Sex Annotation for mating specimens

I would like to know if there is a preferred way to indicate in the Annotations field that both sexes are present when posting an image of mating specimens. While I know it should be obvious to someone looking at the posted photo(s), this would not be apparent to a person who is merely selecting fields and values when searching the database.

Is there a recommended practice for this? Is “Mating” likely to become an option for the gender Annotation?

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I’d love to know as well, and maybe an additional option with “both” or “mating” would be even better! That way people could see when is the breeding season of the species they are looking up :)

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It would not be considered an appropriate value under the inat definition of an observation. An observation is defined as an encounter with a single individual organism. Therefore even if your photo catches them in the act, the observation is technically only for one of the individuals depicted.

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Hmmm… while I don’t disagree with this policy, there are other descriptors that invoke 2 or more specimens: predator/prey and cannibalism come to mind.

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Those are not annotations. It would be perfectly fine to do this via one of the observation fields. There are many variants on sex=currently engaged in it among the observation fields.

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Those are not annotations. It would be perfectly fine to do this via one of the observation fields. There are many variants on sex=currently engaged in it among the observation fields.

Yes, you are right. Such was documented in observation fields and target projects (or tags?) rather than annotations. I don’t fully understand the reasons for distinctionS of the different Descriptor fields, or their separate functions. I’m sure they are useful, but it’s not that apparent to the casual user, I think.

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Observation is for 1 specimen only, so choose one you like the most or duplicate the observation for both of them, plus you can add an observation field for mating.

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Ah, I did not realize that it was acceptable to duplicate my images to record two separate specimens.
I shall update my observations accordingly.

Thank you.

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I see also that there is a project named Mating Behavior and someone has added my observation to this project. This will be useful to remember for future observations.

It seems, with iNaturalist, there are often multiple ways to note particular aspects of an observation. While it may no doubt be difficult for someone to find all these different cases when they are of interest, I do appreciate the free form functionality of iNaturalist’s data submission tools.

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I agree with this. Same with other kinds of observations with two or more specimens. Predator/prey, parasite/host, etc.

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My poor attempt at an explanation:

  • Annotations are ‘official’, consistent, and have been deemed common enough to be implemented across the taxonomic level for which they apply.

  • Observation fields are something that anyone can make and thus there are a multitude of options based on the requirements of the person making or using the field.

Alive/Dead/, Male/Female/, and Life Stage are things that apply to most every Animal and thus you’ll see those as annotations for the relevant taxonomic level. Recording information like ‘Predating on X’, ‘Infected By X’, ‘Spider: Missing Legs #’, or ‘Orthoptera Color Variant: X’ are less likely to be applicable to (most) every observation and are thus kept as observation fields.

The fact that anyone can create an observation field makes them very useful for people who want to record specific information, though a drawback to that is there are some fields that cover similar ground.

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