Uploading observations of the same individual over time

For example, I’m having this discussion about two different observations of the same fungus that completed its life cycle within a day:

I argued that the timestamps are useful for tracking how organisms change over time, but petragloyn’s suggestion that I should combine both into one and add the timestamp in the comment is also valid.

This also applies to my caterpillar rearing efforts. I’d argue that knowing how long each individual/species spends in each phase is useful, but what’s the best way to organize this on iNat?

After all, if say, my caterpillars pupate in the wild, it’d be impossible for me to know if I had photographed the same specimen once or twice and will always split them into two or more observations.

Maybe we need a feature that links different observations of the same individual together? Or adding timestamps for individual photos?

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My vote goes to individual obs. But at same time, refer to the main obs (first) explaining the timeline.

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You can feel free to disregard any suggestions you don’t agree with. It is your observation after all! Also, iNat does stipulate “at a moment in time”, and we generally use the date as a differentiation for that, but if the organism changes significantly over a shorter time frame than a day, then absolutely hours should be a better differentiation!

Try this, for linking observations that have some sort of connection to one another, but stopping short of creating a project for them. Some of us use it for lepidoptera raising:



as an example of it’s use, I have done it for one of your sets:

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and for the coprinellus:

I started doing the “similar observation set” thing for my own obs after I saw you mention it earlier… Now you are saying I could do it for other peoples’ too? Mind blown! Sometimes when I’m id’ing I notice classmates’ obs would go well together, for instance.

I had never seen this before, thank you very much! This sure is handy :D

yes! And you can replicate the functionality with a differently named field if you chose to. For example, you could create a “caterpillar raised on to adult” field, but for simplicity I think sticking to the one name is easier. You can also use phrases instead of obs number, but be careful not to use anything too generic or your set might get muddled up with other peoples!

I had come up with this idea and felt very pleased with myself, and then I discovered @tony_wills had come up with exactly the same idea some time before me. I didn’t copy him, but I must have seen it subconsciously and liked it enough to subconsciously integrate it into my own obs linking strategy!


Thanks for posting this question and Mark for your answer/solution. I’ve had a fairly scarce bird (for this area) coming to our feeders since Fall–likely the longest documented case in our state–and was wondering how to link the several Obs I’ve made of it over the months. I was simply including the link back to the original iNat observation in each Observation’s description, but this is obviously a better solution. Good to know–thanks!

A related conversation was here https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/connecting-observations-into-linked-groups/1367
It might have some useful stuff.

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