What is the most-observed individual organism on iNat?

This may forever be a speculative question, but I think it’s fun to think about. What single organism has the most observations on iNat? Perhaps one of the giant sequoias at Sequoia National Park, or one of the condors at Zion? Any other candidates?


If I was a betting man, I would say the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), or the Western Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera) to be the most observed species on INAT. Dont ask me why I guessed these 2 species :grin:


And, yet… I’d have guessed the same (for the same reasons :wink:)


On the main website click explore and then species, everything is listed from most to least observed


I think this person is referring to a single individual of a species, not the entire species. It’s a really interesting question and I bet answers will differ based upon location in the world. One of the iconic sequoias is a good guess, as is a condor, I’d even think the Methusela tree in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest may be one. Or the tallest redwood, or…


The question is what specific single individual organism (ie 1 plant or 1 specific individual animal) not the most submitted species


Ooh, good question. Another candidate might be a rare but conspicuous vagrant bird that attracts a lot of observers? It’s only ~20 observations so I don’t think this is it, but an example might be the falcated duck in 2011/2012 in California’s Central Valley: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2011-07-01&d2=2012-07-01&locale=en-US&place_id=14&preferred_place_id=6&subview=map&taxon_id=558440


I think they mean the specific individual, not the species. As in, “That fat mallard with a lark on the left side of its bill that steals bread from all the other mallards in the Central Park Lake.”


Maybe that escaped NY Mandarin duck? There were tons of visitors, not sure how many observations on iNat.

I vote for a tree somewhere in US as the most observed place of all.


Only 9 observations so far, but contender for the “conspicuous vagrant” prize in UK this year would likely be Wally the walrus who became a bit of a media icon :




Maybe a very well-documented time series on a perennial plant? On Instagram I followed an account that posted almost a photo-a-day of a local orchid during its season, for more than one year. If the account were to move that project to iNaturalist, maybe it would qualify. Only 1 observer, though.


INaturalist stops listing results after a few pages and I don’t know any way to resort it.
As for the single most observed individual. One of the Sequoias has crossed my mind at one point too. Or maybe an individual black bear would make top of the list.

There was a painted bunting that showed up in a park just outside of Washington DC in January, and was there for about a month. It drew a lot of attention, and there are 55 observations of that individual painted bunting on iNat.


I wonder about Monty and Rose, the Piping Plovers that nested in downtown Chicago- you’d have to compare bands across the various photos but they’d be good candidates.

1 Like

Probably a Mallard or goose in an LA park.

Some that I can think of that would be local to the PNW would probably be the Resident Orca pods, the Transient pods, and ‘The Sounders’ Gray Whales that hang around up here throughout the year. Most of the observations probably being from whale watch/tour boats.

I unfortunately don’t have the skills to be able to identify the Orca’s saddle patches with 100% certainty, but I do always photograph them anyways when they come through. The Grays on the other hand I am more familiar with, especially #21 Shackleton who I see the most often, this is the best photo I have gotten of Shackleton, which I was able to confirm by lining up his dorsal markings with historic ID photos to confirm the ID! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/81140896


If quaking aspen clonal colonies count, it might be Pando which takes up over 100 acres. The Great Banyan Tree is another guess, but I imagine there are more inat users in the US than India.


Some plant in a Kuala Lumpur city park during the City Nature Challenge


Oh, no. There’s a Monterrey Cypress in a southern California park where school class after school class comes there and posts observations on iNaturalist. There must be hundreds of photos of that tree, many of them from exactly the same angle. I got so tired of seeing it.


Now I’m curious, what park? I wanna see this over-observed tree :)