What are some commonly misidentified species?

What are some commonly misidentified species globally? Respond to this post with the species name, what it is misidentified as and how to tell it apart

We are asking because (1) We would like to increase awareness of misidentified species and (2) We might start fixing misidentified observations in the future

Please only post Plants, Birds and Mammals

I made this topic because i could not find any topics about this subject.

Edit : Sorry for creating a post that is similar to others

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You can start with topic you were linked with, plus there’re a few previous ones


thank you, but most of those are fungi and insects, Im more interested in plants, birds and animals.

  • The computer vision archive one is 3-4 years old, i want to know about misidentifications that are happening in 2023
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Just for the sake of pedantry – birds are animals.

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I am confused. Do you have a primary account you use for yourself and use “Wildlife Enthusiast” as a sort of secondary account for your work in cleaning up iNaturalist? If not, if you really have no observations and so few identifications, maybe it might be helpful to look around a bit and read.

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Birds are animals, insects are animals too.) You can start with a species you know and look at “analogous species” tab on the species page. You should know the group to do a clean up work, especially with plants where local species can go in hundreds, and birds, where you need to know different plumages and where commonly misid groups need years to study an learn.


The stuff I work on (plants, mostly monocots) can be pretty ambiguous even with good keys, especially with just images to work with. Maianthamum, Polygonatum, Prosartes, Streptopus, and Uvularia are my primary focus. There are still about 15,000 observations of these groups that I’ve identified that are still Needs ID.

Other common plant groups that people struggle with in my area are Triglochin, Bidens, Arisaema, Euphorbia, Xanthium, Sagittaria, Artemisia, Juniperus, Heuchera, Helianthus, Lemna, Oenothera, and the vast majority of Lycopodiopsida, Bryophyta, and Poales.


PS: I really hope my comment did not come across as shady or belittling in any way. That was not my intent!

I came into iNaturalist as a complete novice, and while I can recognize a few local-to-me species really well now, the key word there is few!

I just know I learned a lot about a number of species, about what people wish others would annotate, which are well known and which are erroneously believed known, which are underserved, which are under-experted by reading the forums.

The second link Marina posted is 22 days old, and full of excellent information and seems to be asking almost exactly the same thing, so do look the responses over.


The first species that come to mind are American bullfrogs and green frogs, though many other species in the genus Lithobates may also be identified. American toads and Fowler’s are another tough one to differentiate, so there might be some misidentifications of them.

I often see Chromis atripectoralis misidentified as Chromis viridis - the two are very similar but relatively easy to tell apart if you know what you’re looking for.

Look at his/her profile it says he just wants to id and annotate. That is why he made the account. INat accounts arent just for observing. They can be used for id ing as well.

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I appreciate your answering on their behalf but I would prefer any answer come from the party I addressed.

Additionally this does not actually answer what I asked.

I read their profile and know why they made this account.

My question was to whether or not this is their only account.

(Absent any mention of gender, I am using gender neutral pronouns.)

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Yeah I usually use gender-neutral pronouns so I just forgot edited it

Of course, and there’s nothing wrong with a user wanting to focus on annotation. We certainly need more enthusiastic annotators.

But I think one reason some of us are a bit puzzled is that annotation isn’t necessarily the most obvious entry point for a new user. It’s not a feature that most of us discover in our first forays through iNaturalist, but only after we have been using the site for some time. So joining iNat exclusively for the purpose of annotation suggests some previous experience with the website.


To be clear, I’m not making any accusations here, just trying to understand. It is helpful for all sorts of reasons to have a sense of where a user is coming from, what their familiarity with the website is, what their goals are in initiating such a project, and so forth.


This is my only account on iNaturalist

I am a “he”

I do not consider myself to be a novice on species, as i have been researching them for years. However I am a novice in terms of iNaturalist use.

Someone (I do not remember who) asked me what am i knowledgeable about. I know my way around most canadian bird species and i have been doing work recently on various plants

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As I also said in the earlier post of mine you quoted,

One really excellent current thread is this one. If followed, perhaps some of the confusion might be lessened.

Welcome to iNat.


Than it’d be a great start and will keep you busy long enough! With how many observations each species there has, it’d be a big work.


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