Things posted to iNaturalist that were the first ever observation of that organism

Here’s a chameleon which was photographed a year before it was described:

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Cheers Jeremy, great one. Have added it to the project

Here’s one that I don’t know if its the first-ever observation of this species, but it’s definitely the first (and only) on inat and is the only picture and observation of this species that I have ever seen. This is a Mendelson’s Water Frog (Telmatobius mendelsoni), which is named after Dr. Joe Mendelson, a herpetologist and researcher at Zoo Atlanta

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I’m a specialist on the plant genus Castilleja, and I’ve seen postings by several botanist-oriented people from Mexico of what look to be undescribed Castilleja species from that country. I’ve communicated with most of the photographers but have yet to receive any documenting specimens. Hopefully botanists in Mexico will follow up on these! I’ll try to relocate some of these observations and add them to the “First known…” group when I have some time.


Ooh I’m sure the Observation of the Day page is a good place to look for things to add to this

welcome to the forum, @turtle04 :)

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Thanks for making this! I have a bunch of these to add ;)

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Thanks all for the interest in the project :)

cool - I joined and added one of mine - there are some amazing things in the project already

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I’ve been waiting for some of your stuff to get added ;)

I probably have less than my numerical weight suggests. I know I have an undescribed cricket but after that I don’t know - maybe a flatworm.

Will do!

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I have quite a few, which has to be a function of living in a bio hot-spot, lack of public interest over the 20th C, and the somewhat overwhelmed underfunded state of public resources. Will post.

Got lots, beachcomber!
No idea how to add them, as I am senior regional Luddite.
Here are a few:

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Cheers Nicholas :)

They’ve been added now.

If you want to add any yourself you can join the project, and then click on the projects tab on each observation

BC…yes, my slow brain figured it out eventually…thanks!!

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New species are easy to find, especially when it comes to arthropods (and often for plants too, in certain areas (edit: and snails!)), but there is a whole technical recognition and description process to go along with them that takes time and often far better quality observational data than iNat observations generally provide.

I have no doubt that there are a bunch of new species that have been observed via iNat, but that are still stuck in genus or family level and will remain so until they are noticed, someone takes interest, and the whole formal recognition/description process fires up.

Years later someone may well be able to say, “Ah, this iNat observation was the first known sighting of this species,” but it is a slow process.


All excellent points and are exactly why this project should be very valuable!

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