Why can we sort out a search by butterfly, but not moth?

I know this has been asked before, but I noticed that you can now sort by just butterfly. Why not moth? I suppose the system is biased toward butterflies, but there are far more moth species, as you know.

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I’m not sure what you mean. Butterflies are in the superfamily Papilionoidea, and moths are separated throughout all the other superfamilies and families in Lepidoptera. You could make a search link that excludes Papilionoidea when searching in Lepidoptera if you only want to search for moths. This has a topic on the forum already, I think.


There is no one taxonomic category that includes moths without butterflies. You can filter just for moths with URL filters, as discussed here:


There are also projects that allow you to do this, such as (shameless plug) this project https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/moths-of-the-world


“Moths” are not monophyletic that’s why. Annoying, but that’s the way it is


I think that, taxonomic considerations aside, it would be helpful in some cases to be able to upload based on things other than clade. Moths are a good example. Another case would be “freshwater snails”, which I know are not monophyletic, but would be good for some practical searches.


That could be extended to a lot of other groups as well, and I could see it getting messy. If you typed in “freshwater snails”, what would you want it to show up? Taxonomically it would have to assign class Gastropoda, even though there are only certain options within that.

This has been discussed at length elsewhere. It’s come up with lichens, mangroves, moths, and a bunch of other groups of organisms that are distinct but not monophyletic.

iNat politics are strongly against non-taxonomical groups, I think there’re a couple threads about it.

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One could argue that butterflies are just colorful, diurnal moths. A lot of people refer to birds as dinosaurs for the same reason. Both birds and butterflies evolved from a particular kind of dinosaur/moth. Both moths and dinosaurs are incomplete taxonomic groups if butterflies and birds are excluded. Of course, by the same reasoning, humans (and all other tetrapods) are fish. And that’s why fish isn’t a taxonomic group, either. Moths (excluding butterflies), dinosaurs (excluding birds), and fish (excluding tetrapods) are groups that are based on a set of characters that humans have decided are more important that other characters for defining the group. One could pick different characters and get different groups. That’s why scientists (and iNat) try to stick to evolutionary groups (defined by evolutionary relationships) when possible (with sufficient evidence).


For freshwater snails o

One could type in Hygrophila. That should work for the air-breathing ones anyway.

Actually, you can exclude butterflies from a search of moths. First, search for moths [Lepidoptera]. Then copy what you see below this paragraph and add it to the URL with no spaces in front of it


For example, to display California moths by species, go to https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=14&taxon_id=47157&view=species&without_taxon_id=47224


My mother is a fish.

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