What is the RAREST animal/plant you have ever seen

It’s probably not the best measure of what’s rare, but I have quite a few plants with less than 100 observations on inaturalist. “Spiranthes x intermedia” has only 2 and mine was the first. “Asplenium x ebenoides” has only 19. I found both completely by chance not knowing they would be in the area - but they are both kinda cheating because they are not real species but hybrids.

Just looking at more of my species, apparently I took pictures of a lousewort last year that people on here identified as “Pedicularis asplenifolia” since and it has only 12 inat observations for some reason - probably because the inat AI confidently identifies it as something else.

Similarly, I took pictures of a valerian which was identified as “Valeriana celtica” and has only 33 global observations - again it never seemed to be rare to me - it was on a mountain meadow full of them - until just now, trying to find things with few observations :)

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Likely the orchis purpurea x simia hybrid, which is only found in a few places worldwide!

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Probably an orange-bellied parrot. In 2017 there were 14 birds left in the wild. Since then some captive-bred ones have been released, but there are still less than 50. I saw one in early 2020, and didn’t photograph it because I didn’t realise what it was. Fortunately others who saw it did get photos - then told me about my mistake.

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It must be the African Penguin also known as the Jackass Penguin which lives on the coast of South Africa and Namibia. It has the habit of breeding in its own guano, but since too much of guano was harvested, the little ones are decreasing in an alarming rate. On the other hand, a beautiful tree known as the Dracena ombet is declining in the mountains of Egypt because of recurrent droughts.

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I have seen some pretty rare animals and plants, but the rarest was a sighting of an ocelot in the wild. I also saw a quetzal (the national bird of Guatemala) in the wild and up close. The bird is so beautiful and graceful, it was like seeing an angel!

I have also seen many different kinds of whales and dolphins, including orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, and grey whales.

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I vividly remember my encounter with a mantis shrimp, which had appeared right as I had begun to think I had truly seen everything that my little zone in Florida has to offer. It was a real eye-opener, and now it seems like after that new species have been more abundant than ever!

I remember seeing a baby longnose batfish which are not often seen in my area, and I have observed a handful of southern codlings, a darling little gadiform which are particularly elusive- the best method of finding these is via trawl net (which I am able to use for observing!) and even then they are remarkably few and far between.

…Also, I’m the top observer for the spotted whiff, a cute little flatfish that may not be rare per se but there are only 9 observations of this fish on the entirety of INat- a third of that total consist of my own observations.

Now, I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that any day now a cool deepsea fish will wash up on a shoreline near me and I’ll be able to get pictures, despite the geographical improbability of that happening…

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Mimela signaticollis and [Acusta tourannensis] are two of my rarest (by inat obs count)(https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103881950)

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Probably Sporophila maximiliani, a CR bird from South America with less than 2500 individuals in the wild

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There are several insects and spiders that I’m the only observer of, but I think most of these are due to being in remote locations. Two exceptions though are the beetles Calligrapha cephalanthi and Hyperaspidius venustulus, which are native to Florida.

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Currently it’s the pallid harrier, though it was only a glimpse. There are about 30,000 pallid harriers globally

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A rusty patched bumble bee, they’re pretty endangered! I was taking a video of another insect, and when I went through the footage I thought I saw a rusty patched bumble bee in the background. I went back to the same bush and found it, a highlight of my summer! The squawking sound i made when I saw it may have startled some passers by, but in my defense It was pretty exciting. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/86219464

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Welcome to the forum @flyingfig

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A slug, which can photosynthesize like a plant, can survive without eating for months.
The slug Elysia chlorotica has the appearance of a leaf. Because it can photosynthesize like a plant, it can survive for weeks or even months without feeding.

They not only eat algae; they also take up the chloroplasts from algae, which color their skin an emerald green. Algal genes have been integrated and are present in the DNA of these slugs, having been transferred from the nucleus of an algal cell to the nucleus of an animal cell. This is an example of kleptoplasty or chloroplastic symbiosis.

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Hmmm, must be Homo sapiens since that species only has two observations on iNat.
Joking aside, I think the rarest species I’ve seen in the wild is the Snapping Turtle, which is at risk of becoming endangered where I live (Southern Ontario, Canada).

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Mine would probably be Nordmann’s Greenshank, a vagrant bird that turned up in Cairns, Australia. The estimated global population is 1200-2000 birds. Looking at the observations, quite a few people have seen this same individual.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/111079988

my apologies for the low image quality. i had to zoom in quite a lot which made the pic very grainy

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If I set my filters to show “Threatened” (which includes all higher IUCN categories as well), that helps me to narrow it down. I find that this Hawaiian Goose is marked with a red oval bearing the letters “CR”, which means Critically Endangered. I would surmise that a Critically Endangered species is rarer than those of lower conservation concern.

Yes, I did go looking for it; it was the reason I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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I have just returned from a biodiversity survey on Mt Gorongosa in Mozambique and I found specimens of an as yet undescribed species of Justicia (Acanthaceae). I had first found this plant in 2007 in the same location but there was not enough material to formally describe it. In the 15 years between the (only) two recordings of this plant the deforestation on Mt Gorongosa has dramatically increased and I never expected the area where I had found it to still exist. Fortunately the patch where I found it is apparently too steep to clear and use so at least that fragment is still intact. I only saw about 4 or 5 plants in 2007 and saw less than a dozen plants this time. Even if there are more, the forest where it grows is now so fragmented that edge effects and disturbance alone are a major threat and of course the last remaining patches could still well be cleared in the near future. The species is now at a high risk of becoming extinct before we even have a chance to formally describe it so this must likely be the rarest plant I have ever seen.
Greetings, Bart Wursten

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thank you :)

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