Should I Upload Nearly Identical Pictures for a Rarely Observed Species?

I recently photographed a velvet ant that has since been identified as a species with fewer than ten observations (Timulla barbata). I took several photos, and uploaded the best one of the bunch. The others show the insect in basically the same position, but with slightly different degrees of focus. Is it beneficial to iNaturalist and its AI for me to upload the other pictures, or would it be either unbeneficial or even detrimental when the species gets enough pictures to train the AI? Thanks.


Great question! And congratulations on that cool observation and share.

I’m really glad you asked this. I try to show a different pose or behavior, but I often add multiple photos. I especially do it when I’m unfamiliar with the taxon and don’t know what the critical field marks might be, but I do worry that I’m an “over sharer.” I never considered the effect on the accuracy of AI learning.


Uploading a few should be fine, but I wouldn’t upload more than that if they’re very similar. There’s probably some limited benefit to having slight variations in the pic available for training the CV. However, it’s also possible for the CV to cue in on specific aspects of a user’s setup (focal distance, background, etc.) which isn’t ideal. I don’t think this would be a serious issue unless you’re accounting for a large portion of a species’ images which doesn’t sound like it will happen with just several photos.

Congrats on the observation!



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