What is the RAREST animal/plant you have ever seen

Mine would probably be this obscure species of bluet, Houstonia parviflora

It is only endemic to a small part of Central Texas, and with flowers only millimeters in size it’s also very easy to overlook. There are 16 total observations on iNat… 7 of which are RG. I found this one practically by accident, but was very excited when I found out what it was!

Funny enough though, they were in a location I passed by quite often, so I was able to return to get a few more observations better images. Last time I checked the fruits were dried and dehiscent… I should post an observation of those sometime soon.

Edit: well, as of now there are 16 observations… I’m sure more will be found ;)


I have one of 20 observations of the genus Apote, large shieldback katydids from the dry inland Northwestern United States. It took a bit of digging to get it to genus level!


This is also likely another Apote but not quite at RG because of a couple of old IDs



I guess it would be Spoon-billed Sandpiper. A handful spend the winters over here in Thailand and I saw two individuals at two sites the past winter. They are quite tricky to spot as they’ll be amongst hundreds of Red-necked Stints and other small waders and the only tell is basically a small difference in the bill, being the distinctive spoon-bill.

There are estimated to be as few as ~100 breeding pairs remaining in the wild.

My first time seeing one: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/108481384


I can’t check for rarity right now, but this species has only my observation listed: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/79280773
It’s a bit wild since it’s probably not that rare, but dipterologists don’t have much access to birds.


I found in my garden a couple of newly described flatworms, with the locality of a paratype a few km from my house
probably they are a lot more common in the area, but for now only one observation


I’ve seen a few uncommon creatures, but this spotted-legged meadow grasshopper is probably the rarest. Mine was the first to be identified on iNat and is currently the lead image on its species page. Interestingly, there was another observation uploaded almost exactly one year before mine and literal feet away, though it wasn’t IDed until after my own.

Others might include a treetop emerald seen at a local park and a Miami blue-eyed grass from a very fruitful trip to Florida earlier this year. I actually have my own life list spreadsheet and I include the total number of observations when added as a fun bit of extra data.


Why is that named as ‘‘grasshopper’’? Isn’t it a katydid?


Hmm, good question actually. Apparently that’s a common name listed on ITIS and GBIF. Wikipedia, BugGuide, and GBIF (alternate) list it as “spot-legged meadow katydid”. I added it to the species name list.


The rarest lifeform I have ever seen was most likely one I had no idea I saw it. I imagine I have seen many rare things over my lifetime and was unaware of it.


Probably Alabama Cave Shrimp (Palaemonias alabamae)
Rare af, only known to exist at a couple of cave sites.

There’s a few rare species of cave crayfish too that I’ve seen. And cave fish. And cave psuedoscorpions. Many cave species are quite restricted in range in general.

P alabamae is just one of my favourites, and it may be the rarest I’ve seen…it’s at least on par with the others I mention.


Depends on one’s definition of rare I suppose.

I am from eastern Massachusetts, and every year I make it a point to see the North Atlantic right whales as they migrate through. NOAA says there are less than 350 individuals, and on a single outing I’ve seen ~2% of the total population.

Last year I found a rare orchid (Neottia bifoloa) which wasn’t yet known from the mainland in Massachusetts, and there are only a few sites known in New England/New York.

I just got back from California and Nevada and particularly sought out endemics with really small ranges like the Mount Diablo fairy-lantern, pygmy manzanita, Steamboat buckwheat, and Salt Creek pupfish.

Everything on the trip was very fun to see (including common stuff), but the highlight for me was seeing a flowering Tiburon Mariposa lily, which only grows on a couple hills on the Tiburon Peninsula just above San Francisco in California, and in very particular habitat (serpentine soils). I had researched these before and really wanted to see one but knew they usually start blooming in late May, so the day before I flew out I went looking. I spent 5 hours walking every trail (due to the rare habitat you must stay on trails) and though I found a few budding none were in bloom. I left with the bittersweet thought of being lucky enough to have just seen the plant but not in bloom. Then, when I arrived at my hotel room that evening I saw on iNat someone else had seen one in bloom that day. I messaged the person hoping they might tell me where they saw the plant, and decided to wake up super early to make the hour and a half drive back to try to find it. When I arrived I only had an hour and a half to search and looked thoroughly in areas where I saw several individuals with no luck. I kept looking. I pressed my luck. I stayed longer than I should have. I kept frantically refreshing iNat hoping the person had gotten back to me. Finally, I more or less gave up, figuring I would keep my eyes open on the walk back down to my car but didn’t get my hopes up. Not five minutes later, I found the same flower that had been seen the day before, and maybe the only one currently blooming anywhere. It was in a spot where you could only see it while walking down this trail, and the day prior I had walked up it and looped back to the car using another. I stood in awe of such a unique and beautiful flower for several minutes until I finally pulled myself away and practically ran back to my car to make it to the airport. When I got to the airport I found that the user had messaged me back, I thanked them for their kindness and let them know of my success. It was a heck of an adventure to see a single flower, but so worth it!


I would love to see right wales that is awesome!!! I’ve never been to New England so sounds like I need to plan a trip at the right time of year >_>


BTW @Mercedes-Fletcher This sounds like a nice name for your fairy-tale name list…


I think you’re right! I’ll be sure to add that one!



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My rarest may be my Balcanocerus crataegi. It was one of the first photos of the species uploaded to bugguide and the first here on iNat. I can find very little information on it online so it’s at least under-studied.


Cool! I’ve wanted to see one of those for a while.

They pass over my island on their migration and are one of the species I use to put leverage on the regional politicians and law enforcement to shut down illegal migratory bird hunting.


They’re really cool, and surface feed so you get really long looks at the upper parts of their mouths. March/early April is usually best. If you do end up making a trip shoot me a message and I’ll send you a list of spots!



Gee’s Golden Lutung , an endangered primate. They seemed energetic and playful while I was observing them.

This is likely the rarest plant I’ve seen, Santa Clara Dudleya


Probably Whooping Crane, which I see fairly regularly.