Suggestion: Allow hybrids that specify a genus only

Previous related discussions here:

I would like to be able to specify that an organism is a hybrid within a single genus without specifying the exact parental taxa. @bouteloua and I think this would be feasible within the current system (i.e. no changes to the code needed), but there should be an agreed-upon policy before we start doing this.

The example I gave previously is genus Callithrix. There are locations where you could reasonably expect to find C. jacchus, C. penicillata and C. aurita, plus hybrids of any combination of those. Right now, giving a genus level ID means a) I don’t know which species it is, b) the photo quality is too poor to identify which species it is, or c) it is a hybrid. A genus level hybrid taxon would rule out both a and b. (For those interested, this is a clear photo of an individual who is a hybrid – possibly of all three species, maybe just two of them?)

From a data-entry point of view, I imagine the taxon would look something like this:

I don’t see a lot of downsides to this, other than the fact that it complicates the taxonomic tree and may be challenging for some to use correctly.

The best alternative within iNat’s current functionality is to give a genus level ID and use an observation field to indicate hybrid status. This isn’t terrible, but some users disable the ability to add observation fields.

I don’t deal much outside mammals, so I would particularly appreciate input on how this might be good or bad for other parts of the tree.


This would be helpful with Manzanitas, there are lots of one-off apparent hybrids between many different species out in the wild. Leaving them at just genus is suboptimal for the same reasons you specify and having to add a new taxon page for each one doesn’t seem like a great solution.

I just checked and there is now a genushybrid category. This should hopefully address this problem.

The Genushybrid category is for hybrid taxa of two different genera, not the same genus.

I see. Nevermind then.

I’m not seeing much downside either, and maybe it would reduce demand/temptation for lots of individual hybrid taxon pages in genera where hybrids are rampant but whose exact parentage is often speculative at best.

Theoretically each one would come with a “not external” Taxon Framework Relationship deviation, which might or might not complicate @loarie’s life more.

Since any genus could potentially need such a hybrid bucket, I wonder if it would make sense to have a “hybrid” checkbox as a built-in property of any genus-level ID, rather than having to create an indefinite number of separate taxon records as possible hybrids show up (presumably in response to an equal number of taxon curation flags). But then that would definitely involve new coding instead of fitting in the existing system as you are suggesting.