What's your worst/most embarrassing ID mistake?

here’s how you search by taxon (birds, in this example): https://www.inaturalist.org/identifications?user_id=smschnerremd&taxon_id=3

the right side of that page shows the parameters you can apply via the URL. if you need more filtering options, the API offers a few more parameters. see Search and filter identifications - Feature Requests - iNaturalist Community Forum.

My worst ID wasn’t on this site (it was on garden.org), but it was matching a common alder to a BLETULA (beech tree). :man_facepalming:how embarrasing

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Sorry to say but beech is a different genus, birch is Betula (I guess bletula was a typo? Google doesn’t know this name). Anyway it’s not a big mistake, nothing to worry about, alders do look similar!

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lol birch was autocorrected to beech.

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Just to be clear, I pretty much agree with what you’re saying and there’s no shame in making a misidentification. But for me, it’s kind of fun to look back on IDs I got a little needlessly embarrassed about because it’s nice to see where I’ve come and what lessons I’ve learned. I’m probably strange in this regard, but I tend to embrace little bits of embarrassment if it’s not serious as it leads me to greater understanding of my mistakes. Some instances are even kind of funny in hind sight. What’s more, I’d like to think it helps new users see that we all make mistakes, even those who rank among the top in terms of identifications.

I will also take slight exception for the case of arrogance. There’s no shame in a misidentification from arrogance if you learned from it, but I think embarrassment is an important part of the process to accepting that a mistake was made. I’m not suggesting that we should try to embarrass anyone, only that embarrassment is natural and an important step towards recognizing and understanding one’s mistake. Once the mistake is realized, I would say then that there’s no need to feel embarrassed about it.

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Off of INat, I once confidently told a photographer that the lovely snake they posted was “some kind of elapid” and it was an Eastern Indigo Snake. Which is not an elapid, and is in fact the largest snake native to the US, so it would be pretty distinctive if it hadn’t been a photo of a captive snake with no location tagging.

I still think indigo snakes look like elapids. Just…none of our two American elapids. You aren’t going to mistake it for Pseudechis if it’s in Texas.

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Recently I found about the andean Loasaceae and got quite enthusiastic about it. This… well… caused me to encounter the experts… and well, I guess I was kinda wrong about most IDs. A species of Mexican Mentzelia in the Central Andes, an Ecuatorian species somewhere in the White Mountains, and what was worse - Borage! I-called-an-species-of-Loasa-Borage! I, well, got corrected, and I think it was an opportunity to learn a little more… and… I do want to continue IDing but I’m a little afraid I may make more mistakes, since Nasa and allies are very, very taxonomically confusing

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I hope you use this event as an opportunity for learning. Every expert started from nothing, every expert made mistakes learning, and continues to make mistakes even when an expert (albeit rarely). and it behooves them to remember that!

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I accidentally put down Tangled web spider for a wolf spider I found because google showed images similar to it and I saw the word tangled spider. I soon then realised that the reason why none of them popped up in my area was because they were in Australia while I was in Arizona. It was super embarrassing because people were going to see it

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This sort of thing is very common, don’t worry about it. There are quite a few spiders with common names like “black house spider” - so people find a black spider in their house, start typing “black spider…” and see “black house spider” - that must be it! Except that species is only found in Australia/NZ and of course there are 100 other black spiders people find in houses. There are also many unrelated types of spiders with the word “funnel” in their common names (people see a funnel-shaped web and start typing “funnel”), and about 10 different mostly-unrelated “house spider” names. Spider identifiers are used to seeing this and won’t judge you for it :) But these common names are problematic and that’s why we use Latin names whenever possible to avoid confusion.

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hahahahaha - I love this topic. I don’t have any singularly memorable ID mistake as I’ve made far too many for a single one to stick out.

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Embarrassed to report that 2 years ago, I somehow thought a winged insect (Order Hymenoptera) was a spider. 🤦

I just got the notification of the correcting IDs, so the pain/embarrassment is very fresh.

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I once identified Columbian Monkshood in Lassen Volcanic park as a Southern Blue Monkshood, and then promptly went about telling everyone I knew that I had found a species that had never before been recorded in California and how amazing and exciting it was.

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I don’t know what my most embarrassing mistake was before, but I know what it is now. A couple of years ago someone posted a very obvious Bombus auricomus male (Bumble Bee, this species has huge eyes as a male), which someone else properly ID’d, I on the other hand in my great wisdom saw that it must clearly be Bombus citrinus (If you squint, and close your eyes, and have never seen either then they kind of look a little similar), I even included an explanatory note (sob). Well recently I get a notification that someone put an ID on a Bombus and the thumb nail is clearly a Bombus auricomus male, when I clicked on it I was horrified that I had such a wrong ID and that someone had agreed with ME! I quickly agreed with the other ID’er and left another note.

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Mis-IDing of Red-throated sunbird with Red-throated bee-eater. Thanks to ID suggestion that had the latter on top :-)

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Honestly, I completely relate! I was convinced I had a marsh harrier in our garden at one point!

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