What is the best way to view the least-seen species in a county?

I would like to have a convenient way to view observations in a specific county, but not the most common ones. Subscribing to taxa doesn’t really work unless the observation is correctly identified when posted–the subscriptions don’t pick up later identifications as far as I can tell. Using Places to see observations brings up species in order of most-to-least observed, and has a cutoff, so the least-observed species don’t seem to be visible there. In “Explore,” “Identify,” and Collection projects there doesn’t seem to be any way to filter out the most common species, apart from excluding them in a long list of exclusions in a Collection project. Am I missing any method for accomplishing this? Thanks!

The only option I can think of is to use the explore feature and at least filter the taxa down enough to ensure you get below the 500 threshold that show. For example filter to beetles, not insects etc.

This of course assumes you dont consider things not seen as in the least observed.

For example https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=27589&subview=grid&taxon_id=47208&view=species

Make sure you use the places in the filters, not the location search, that will use a bounding box that will be larger than your county.


Thanks. That’s doable, although a little time-consuming if I’m looking for plants and having to do the searches by genus to get below the 500. (I was hoping for a way to reverse the order of the 500.)

Do you mean not to type “Placer County” into the location box, but instead find it in the “standard places” under “places of interest”?

I do, though. It would be great to know what could be expected but hasn’t been seen there yet.

I know I’m dreaming here, but I’d love to be able to see a personalized page of organisms in a particular place that I have no observations of, plus organisms that have fewer than 30 observations by anyone. That would be a motivator.

Thanks for your help.


You can get a list of species observed in a place that you have not recorded records of. Using the unobserved_by_user_id paramenter.

With one caveat, it only works for things you have not seen anywhere, not in the chosen place.

Thus a list like the URL below is all birds reported in Ontario that I have never reported, not that I have never reported in Ontario.


Thus for example a species like Grey Kingbird which I have observed, but not in Ontario, will not be in this list. There is no way to do ‘things I have never seen in this place’ unless of course you do a full report on all species and export it to excel or something

You need to know the taxa number and place number but they are easy to find. The hrank and lrank are not absolutely needed, but keeps things like genus and family from being in the results.

There is no way to reverse the sort so it shows the least frequently observed.

And yes, it is much better to use the iNat Standard Places


Thanks again! I’ll try this.

In theory you could also create a personal list for the province/county whatever and use the list compare tool to compare against the checklist for the equivalent.


  • there is no way (at least I have ever figured out) to do this at the taxa level, you can only do it for everything
  • it may be a dangerous assumption that given the buggy behaviour of lists that either your personal list or the checklist are accurately maintained.
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Yes, as you say, I knew the lists are buggy, so wanted to avoid that. But with your help in how to combine my unseen species with the county, I was able to bookmark Kingdoms only without reaching the 500 species limit–this is exactly what I wanted. So exciting! Thank you for helping me, cmcheatle!

I presume that you mean:

Why dont you use the Places option. e.g.
or for just birds:

You state it has a cutoff, which does not appear to be the case: there are 404 pages for southern Africa, which is 50X404 = 20200 species. But opening 404 pages is a pain, so:

You can download the full list from the checklist page (at the bottom). Unfortunately the download tells you the first and last dates a species has been seen, but not the total number of observations. I wonder if I should request this? I certainly would find it useful.

The Places page is reportedly a bit buggy, but it has met most of my needs admirably.


The limits are on the mobile view. For example, when I looked for all species in Placer County on my iPhone, the data in the header said there were 2708 species observed, but the grid display of species showed only 500 (100 rows of 5 species), with no option to see more. To be able to page through all the species, I have to use my laptop to go to the website.

5 posts were split to a new topic: Viewing species in a project beyond the top 500

The new life list will do it! For example, plants I haven’t seen in a certain location and how many observations there are of those species

It doesn’t work that way for me. It will only provide the species I haven’t seen anywhere.

Oh… darn perhaps I was over-excited. I think you’re correct.

Thanks for the suggestion anyway. I would really like to have it restricted to all the species I haven’t seen in a certain location.

Have you looked at the experimental compare tool?
For example, this is monocots observed in Placer county by other users but not by you.

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Thank you. That’s interesting. When I tried it myself though (by copying and pasting the queries in), the “in common” look reasonable, but the “not in common” includes species I know I have, and aren’t monocots:

I’m not sure what “unique” is supposed to be. I thought the “not in common” would be the ones I haven’t seen.

In the screenshot, it looks like query 2 is missing an underscore in taxon_id.

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Thank you! I was too hasty. I will play around with it some more.

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There are tool-tips if you hover over the categories:
in common = “Taxa observed in all queries”
not in common = “Taxa not observed in all queries”
unique = “Taxa observed in only one query”

So when you have exactly two queries, unique and not in common are the same, i.e. observed in one and only one of the two queries.

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Thanks again!

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