Hi and welcome to iNat! This guide will walk you through some of the main features of the site.
Observations lie at the core of iNaturalist. An observation is basically a species you observed, a time, and a place.
You can always add new observations by clicking the little arrow on the upper right of the page and using the drop down menu.
The observation form looks like this:
It's important that you click Lookup and choose a matching taxon from the list. If you don't end up with something like , your observation won't get associated with other observations of this species, and your life list won't get updated.
If iNat can't find taxon matching the name you provided in its database, you'll see something like
If you really don't know what you saw, that's fine! If you do know, you should click Search external name providers. This will ask iNat to search some external taxonomic databases for the name and try to import anything it finds.
Those are the basics of adding observations! There are plenty of other things you can do, like searching and filtering your observations or editing them as a batch, but they should be pretty self-explanatory.
iNat hosts directly uploaded photos and also allows you to associate your observations with photos hosted on Facebook, Flickr, or Picasa. If you use either of those services, you can link your accounts and always see a list of your most recent photos when adding new observations.
iNat can also help you add taxonomic tags to your Flickr photos using the Taxonomic Tags for Flickr tool. This tool will add tags to your photos for all the common and scientific names of the taxon you observed, and the names of its ancestor taxa. So if your observation is of a , you would get the following tags:
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Hylidae Pseudacris taxonomy:kingdom=Animalia taxonomy:phylum=Chordata "Pseudacris crucifer" "rainette crucifère" "Spring Peeper" taxonomy:class=Amphibia taxonomy:order=Anura Anura taxonomy:family=Hylidae taxonomy:genus=Pseudacris taxonomy:species=crucifer "taxonomy:binomial=Pseudacris crucifer" "taxonomy:common=rainette crucifère" "taxonomy:common=Spring Peeper"
taxonomy:binomial=Pseudacris crucifer are
They help engineers programmatically make sense of your tags, and are
required by some Flickr groups like the
Encyclopedia of Life Images
You can also add Flickr tags when editing an observation, or when batch editing your observations.
Lists are lists of species (or other taxa), like a life list of all the birds you've seen or a list of your favorite salamanders. They are not lists of observations.
Lists come in three varieties:
iNaturalist maintains a big database of species and other taxa, and we have individual pages for each one, showing Flickr photos, observations, our classification, and a description from Wikipedia. Here's the page for.
We import our taxonomic data from some external taxonomic databases, include the Catalogue of Life and uBio. A few of our taxa have also been entered manually, and any user can add new names for taxa. If you can't find a taxon or a name, try searching for it. If your search comes up empty, you should see some search boxes to repeat the search through our external name providers:
If they know about the name, iNat will import and save the data.
You can help make our species pages more useful by adding data! Here are a couple ways you can help: