Your iNaturalist highlight stories!

A big draw for new participatory scientists is that their participation may lead to new discoveries. I’m curious what exciting discoveries you’ve seen or experienced on iNaturalist.

Similar threads for “success stories” have been made, but I’m looking specifically for iNaturalist-based examples like an observation of a carnivorous plant in Ecuador that was previously thought to be endemic to Peru, or a flower that hasn’t been documented in Wake County, NC since the 1960s.

I have the teens who discovered a new species of scorpion in the US and the npr article on all the new mushroom species being identified.

I suppose I’m mostly looking for observations that expanded known species range, new species, or anything you’ve seen that you think would excite potential new iNatters.

Thank you!

(P.S. Is there a collection of the observations that come up on the log-in page? I think I saw the carnivorous plant one there)


Yes, there’s a project for observations of the day.
Really any observation from “first photo of an alive organism” could be called a highlight.)


The photos on the log in and sign up pages are not necessarily observations of the day (although many are). They’re all from this project, and only iNat staff can add observations to the project. Only certain photos work with the format that’s used on those pages, so it’s necessary to take that into account when we choose those observations. They’re not necessarily linked to any special discovery, they’re just cool photos that work with that format.

This was a rare find but not a first.
Also uncommon
First state record!
First state record (unfortunate find)
Not first state record but the first one on Inat. First time seen in state since 2013.
Also does anyone know how to find your observations that are first state record?


I love these stories. Think of all the people whose eyes have been opened by iNaturalist.


I currently have the only iNat observation of a snowy owl in Ellsworth Co., KS. It’s one of just a handful in the whole state. I also saw a mink out there once, too, though I wasn’t able to photograph it. That would have been a first for that area, too. I don’t know that this means anything significant, though. I get the feeling that most of the people living out there have never heard of or simply have no interest in iNaturalist.


Thank you! Using that project, I found the parasitic plant that was previously thought to only be found in Ecuador, but was found in Peru (so I had it backwards)

This observation of the day really stuck with me- how interesting the organism is, how exciting the observation comments were… It definitely solidified how wondrous iNaturalist is to me :)


This here is a spider we briefly saw and turns out it was a 1st record in NA and is now readily found in Miami, FL

Added a species of anemone to the iNat database in 2019!

1st obv of this spp on iNat

Those are mine, very proud =)


Last week I collected a possible new species

And I have a running list of almost 150 first records for iNaturalist (state level or higher), including a plant-hopper yesterday if it gets confirmed

Edit: plant-hopper is first iNat state record but there are 4 for New Mexico on bugguide


These are great examples, thank you for taking the time to share them! I’m impressed with your cool finds :D

Would you be okay with me sharing your spider observation in a lesson for the city nature challenge? I’ll include your username and “Observation © Luke · all rights reserved”


How cool to be the only one in that state to have photographed and submitted it! Thanks for sharing

I work in education and am doing my best to spread the good word of iNaturalist to the masses :)

Oh, to have seen one of the first dominican spider colonizers is rad! I love cnidarians, what a neat addition to the database :') For the beetle, I would have thought ivory marked borer as well! What a neat thing to learn :)

Would you be comfortable with me potentially using one your observations in a lesson? I’ll include your username and “Observation © Stephanie Michelle Soto · all rights reserved” for the photo

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First record on iNat and first find for the province of Málaga of Buprestis sanguinea
and article written about the find (not by me, though. They wanted me as co-author, but I was too shy.)
Two years later I found a black burying beetle Nicrophorus humator, which are rather uncommon in Andalusia and one of the authors said: but now YOU write a paper. Which I did:


I got a county first for a Thin-lined Tiger Beetle and one of the only records for Oklahoma! And an uncommon S-banded Tiger Beetle!


The Edges of (all) Life project, which is funded by National Geographic, encourages people to get out and make observations on iNat as the project researchers are trying to determine the most northern and southern observations of various species. The goal of this project is to better understand species redistribution as the climate changes.

Their project is on a story map. You can search out what has been found near you on the Records Near You tab. You might have a scientifically significant observation and not know it!

(Edited for clarity)


I have the first records of the Common Cryptops centipede and Scaphoideus immistus in Ohio! I also found a Compton Tortoiseshell in OH, which is not unheard of but certainly a rarity.


yes <3 always!

Thanks! Sure you have full permission ;)

Just checked and I have at least 2! I’m crying :smiling_face_with_tear:


I just IDed someone’s observation of a Nyctereutes procyonoides in VA.

The obsv. location was ~ 25 miles away from Zoo Atlanta, and I haven’t been able to confirm that Z.A. still has them. So I don’t know if it counts as a success, but I may have just come across something unexpected.