Which annotations or observation fields do you wish people would add to their observations?

I’m going through some of my observations to add annotations like life stage, phenology, etc. What are some of the fields you find most useful that you wish more people would add to their observations?

Beyond the obvious ones like life stage, I wish people would add:
Host or Host Plant ID for any parasites or galls
How was this detected? for animals, to sort the observations of nests / signs / etc from the actual animals
Nectar / Pollen delivering plant - for insects visiting flowers
What are your favorites?


I don’t know how useful it truly is, but I like using the Associated observation fields to link related or duplicate observations together. I wish there was better official support for both of those concepts. For the same reason, I also like using the BugGuide.net field to link to the BG page for an observation, if there is one.

Along the same lines as a few you mentioned, the Interaction-> fields, e.g. Interaction->Preyed on, are also handy for adding useful context about an associated species.


Life Stage for insects that undergo complete metamorphosis. Identifying a caterpillar and identifying an adult moth or butterfly are two completely different problems.

How was this detected? for animals, to sort the observations of nests / signs / etc from the actual animals

I did not realize this was an option, but I like it now! I’ve seen a lot of traces that don’t really fit into the Evidence of Presence categories.


Along with Host Plant ID, ‘Gall’ under ‘Evidence of Presence’ and Gall Phenophase if it’s obvious.

I try to update my observations with Nectar / Pollen delivering plant as much as possible, but sometimes I’m busy and forget. It’s super useful for specialist bees and any scientists that may look at iNat data later.


Adding plant phenology annotations, particularly Flowering, even with coarse plant IDs such as Magnoliopsida might be useful. Many field guides and keys require presence of flowers to ID to species, so being able to filter to only observations including flower pictures could help narrowing the pool and getting more specific IDs for these. I remember trying this out when I discovered the URL codes for filtering by annotation only to find that at that level very few plants are annotated for phenology.


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