What does your identifying regimen look like?

To clarify the title a bit: how often do you identify observations, and what does your identify link look like?

For example, I identify observations many times per day, and I have two identify links I’ve saved with very specific URL parameters. The first is for the flies and wasps (and certain other arthropods) I identify, and the second is for the leafhoppers. Here they are:

Flies and wasps (& etc.): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?order_by=updated_at&quality_grade=any&per_page=100&place_id=1,6712&taxon_id=245354,120090,120352,364082,47935,132223,464746&without_taxon_id=518212,321476,121342

As you can see, I exclude three taxa, all within the tribe Eristalini, because they require looking at each observation more carefully, and I don’t like having those observations in the quick-identifying link. I include Research Grade observations as the taxa I go through are often misidentified.

I also include one or two taxa that are not flies or wasps in that link, just because they hold the same sort of priority in my mind, e.g. Arhaphe (Hemiptera: Largidae).

Leafhoppers: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=needs_id&per_page=100&order_by=updated_at&place_id=1,6712&taxon_id=67377,67375,143565,136334,133280,143192

Both of the links are sorted with 100 observations per page, and restricted to the US and Canada, my area of specialization. Often I will edit these links temporarily to look at specific regions in the rest of the world.

I would love to hear about your identifying regimen! Feel free to use the sort-of-template I've created above, or elaborate!

I basically set up 'Cicadoidea" and work my way through the range of Okanagana cicadas, starting in California. Other states I’ve just picked randomly for working on Neotibicen/Megatibcen/etc in the East. If I was more savvy with the code I’d probably try and do a better system. During Brood years I try and exclude Magicicada.

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I also include casual observations and all observations with an ID of the taxon in question.


Too often … I’ll take breaks throughout the day to check the front page of Identify (mine defaults to New Mexico). About once a day, I’ll review recent Penstemon and, once a week, I’ll visit Cercocarpus, Fallugia, and other random plant groups.

At the moment, I’m checking Penstemon digitalis, so I guess the link is https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?place_id=any&ident_taxon_id=81942


Accidentally posted as a reply above.

Using search urls which refine to exclude certain taxa or locations would be useful, although I haven’t fully gotten around to it yet. For bees I search bees and search by a country or state. For wasps I search by specific group (e.g. Vespidae or Eumeninae) and country, state, region, continent, or globally. For wasps and bees I also sometimes search Insects, Hymenoptera, Apocrita, Aculeata, Apoidea, etc. - where I also filter the search “Low taxon” to be the searched taxon. Doing this reveals many observations that became “stuck” at these ranks, e.g. from only having two IDs which are in different orders. I basically experiment searching these different ranks and locations, and Low filter on and off, to try to find observations I haven’t seen or which are stuck. I find that wasps and bees get stuck at coarse ranks more often than at least some other groups. I typically primarily ID Needs ID, but sometimes start out by IDing already-RG obs. for species which are new to me. After or if I can complete all Needs ID for a given taxon (e.g. one species) and/or location, I then ID all the RG for it. I also help categorize other insect groups that get incorrectly mixed in with the ones I’m primarily focusing on, especially when there’s some commonality or link (e.g. wasp mimicking bees or bee or wasp mimicking flies).

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My approach is somewhat similar to yours. I put my “ID modal” links on my profile page so that I could find them easily (they’re defined by taxonomic group and geographic region (in some cases).

I like to examine both “needs ID” and “research grade”, but not necessarily at the same time. I often look at the former first (give IDs), then review the latter to see if there have been any misidentifications (if only two people have given an ID for the “research grade” observations, I’ll usually add mine as a third–but if there are 3 or more already, I usually don’t provide another ID myself). Sometimes I narrow my focus to a geographic region that doesn’t have “look-a-like” species so that I can ID quicker without thinking so much. Then I’ll focus on regions where I know I need to pay closer attention.

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t spend at least a few moments IDing–but I get bored easily so I don’t usually spend more than 10-15 minutes at a time a few times throughout the day.

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Day to day I go to the identify tab and filter with a description tag for “gall” this brings up a majority of gall-related observations if they have gall in the name or description box. I will also look through all of the organisms uploaded on the Galls of North America Project.

More infrequently, maybe 3/4 times a year I will go through all of the major gall groups (cynipid gall wasps, gall midges, gall mites and hemiptera) and ID things that were missed. At about the same rate I will go through the “needs ID” eastern US states filtering for galls IDed at the “insects” or “arthropods” level.

Once or twice a year I will go through the top 50-100 gall species through the Galls of North America project individually looking for mis-IDs.


@brian_d I would definitely recommend playing around with URL parameters, you can do some really helpful things that the normal filters don’t give you. See this page for more info: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/search+urls

Nice, I forgot to mention in my original post that I do that as well, but it is evident anyway by looking at my first link, which has quality_grade=any.

I also do this; doing one taxon gets boring, need to either switch it up or take a break!

@calconey Welcome to the Forum! Great reply!


Just FYI, in the future you can click to Edit your post, and then click on the big blue Reply button at the bottom of the page to switch the post from being a reply to someone else’s response, to replying to the topic as a whole.


I have ADHD and it absolutely shows in my identifying style… My default ID tab is anything in the state of California, although lately I’ve been narrowing it down to my county in particular. I like to mix it up, sometimes I search for just things stuck at kingdom level, sometimes for things at species-level that need confirmation, or go through all the records of a particular species. This usually works until I run into a particularly egregious out-of-range mis-identification, and notice that there’s more red dots on the map, so then I have to go look up that species in particular and correct all the other misidentifications, and then check the casual records for it as well, and then I forget what I was doing in the first place and wander off for a while.


It’s just barely spring here in New England in the US, so I’m spending lots of time IDing. First thing each day, I do a minimum of 60 IDs, then I do more off and on all day when I need a break from painting my bedroom, fighting with technology, cleaning the house, etc. (I’m retired).

Usually, I start by looking at everything in New England that Needs ID (except Fungi, because I know virtually nothing about them). I don’t bother with birds, though, since there are plenty of IDers here to deal with those; I will, however, give a Bird ID to an Unknown observation. I go through all those observations until I reach observations from the previous day (or whenever I last quit). For whatever reason, I use the Explore tab to do this and I do have a bookmarked URL for this search.

After that, I usually select some common plant taxon and widen my search area to nearby states and provinces, or to most of eastern North America. Again, I’m looking only at Needs ID observations, often through the Identify tab. I don’t look at Research Grade or Casual observations, because I don’t consider myself an expert in anything. I’m mostly just trying to ID the common stuff so the real experts can deal with sedges and pondweeds instead of Japanese Barberry or Purple Loosestrife (both of those are very common invasives here).


First Kingdom Disagreements.
Then Cape Peninsula Unknowns.
Then the Western Cape.
Then I jump across the border to the rest of Africa.

For the last week or so it has been spiders all the way. So different to be blinkered to just the one subspecies.

I have 2 folders of iNat bookmarks which are ringing the changes.


Game changing!


Much more sophistication shown here than I have been able to muster, but in the spirit of any style that works for a person is a good one, I will share that I delve into the category of Lepidoptera, specify Virginia, US and get busy. I also visit the projects in which I participate which tend to focus on moths and comment on those posts that folks that I follow submit when my comment may be helpful.


I set my page up with a latitude, longitude coordinates and radius that approximates the area of habitat with the plants I’m most familiar with.
map of circle
Identify page for flowering plants in the area

I often focus on going through old flowering plants in this place that are at family level. I’m looking for things that I can narrow down so people who specialize in those groups and for things with disagreements. Sometimes I find things that I know what they are too. I like to zoom in a bit with the browser until I see 4 across and set it to 12 obs per page. Trying to watch the page while scrolling too much can give me motion sickness. This way I can see the 1st two rows then do a single quick scroll and see the 3rd row and the buttons for navigation and mark all reviewed.
Identify page with these parameters


I have a pinned tab open to Identify filtered to California observations. Just have to remember to refresh it every 24 hours to generate a new token. Sometimes I’ll also filter it to just observations made by new users, or sometimes to just unknowns. I also subscribe to some taxa in California and will ID those if I see them appear on dashboard.

I also use AutoTextExpander to easily add my frequently used comments.


Daily / weekly habits consists of some mix of :

UK Diptera + filter = order only
European Diptera + filter = order only
UK Brachycerans + filter = suborder to zoosubsection
European Brachycerans + filter = suborder to zoosubsection

I also have a more niche link saved for all UK Brachycerans except Syrphidae ( as that family has enough input already so I’d rather not be involved ).

When I have more free time I try and tackle Diptera from other continents at order/suborder.

For a range of reasons I avoid species level IDs on the whole. But when observing myself, if I go to the trouble of figuring out what’s diagnostic for a niche species, I tend to check other obs for UK to see if I can support/fix/develop IDs.


How often: not often enough this year, when I’m in hyperfocus state it’s 1-2 thousand ids a day, but when I’m in a “tired of it all” state it’s nothing or just checking user pages or projects.
My link is this https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?per_page=100&taxon_id=47158&lrank=subclass&photos=true just for photos of insects.


Since I’m not an expert in anything I tend to identify by my bioregion and sometimes by my province. This allows me to ID the things I am most familiar with and, more importantly for me, allows me to keep learning by alerting me to species in my area I should be watching out for.


I kinda have @kevintoo 's approach. I set go to identify, set to state, and go wild. I know a few specific things very well, and not much else without pulling out ID books. I go through the recent stuff first, and then backlog. My goal is to review all the non-RG in my state, eventually. I seem to be going at a rate of about 70-100 pages (so…2000-3000 observations since there’s 30 a page) a day. I can ID to species maybe 7% of what is posted on a ‘good day’, but I do a lot of sorting into higher levels hoping others who are specialists can find them easier.