Fun Trick with Search URLS

Do you have a favorite taxon? And you want to be sure to find every observation which might be that taxon?

Or maybe you can think of a taxon people are constantly miss-identifying? (Ugh.)

Introducing your new favorite tricks:

How to use them? I'll give an example.

  1. Go to identify and type in a taxon. Add any of your preferred settings and hit go. For this example I'll be using Asparagus setaceus, searching for both "needs ID" and "casual"

  2. Look at the URL of the page. Find the bit that says "&taxon_id=[number]" and carefully type in additional characters so that it instead reads "&ident_taxon_id=[number]" Now hit enter.
    Assuming you didn't make any typos, you should now be seeing more observations than before.* The new ones are observations where a disagreement has occurred, but at least one person thinks the observation belongs in the taxon you're searching.
    *As long as observations with disagreements exist; they usually do!

  3. If you want to look at only observations where there is disagreement, alter the URL again to add an additional component, "&without_taxon_id=[yourtaxonnumberhere]" I find it easiest to add it to the end so that I am sure not to mess up anything in the middle. You should have just produced a URL containing both &ident_taxon_id=[number] and &without_taxon_id=[samenumber]

Neat! If you really want to dive into search URL tips and tricks, check out the forum guide:

This method also works great when tackling taxa from the list of Computer Vision Clean-Up:

UPDATE: You might also prefer to look at Explore view rather than Identify. That way if you tab over to the “species” tab it will show you stuff that often gets confused for the species in question. Using my example of Asparagus setaceus, that turns out to look like this: I find that very handy for alerting myself to possible "lookalike" taxa.

Of course there's also a built-in way to do that on the About Page of any species:

Clicking the grey numbers in the image corners will show you observations with identifications of both species. So for example, observations identified as both Asparagus setaceus and Asparagus aethiopicus are here:,75604&place_id=any&verifiable=any
Actually by looking at this I just learned that &ident_taxon_id_exclusive= the URL modification to use if you want to search for multiple taxa IDs which appear together.

ps @tiwane it's working!

Posted by arboretum_amy arboretum_amy, January 16, 2021 05:16


Oooh I had no idea about ident_! This is a really useful tip

Posted by natashataylor over 1 year ago (Flag)

Ohhhh wonderful! Thank you!

Posted by lisa_bennett over 1 year ago (Flag)

This is really all the skeletons of bad IDs are tumbling out of the closet!

Posted by michaelpirrello over 1 year ago (Flag)

Ah-ha! That explains why I think I have, say, cleaned up a species in my state, but then find more of it when I go look for Needs ID observations in general. So much to learn .... Which reminds me, thanks for organizing this! I am learning a ton (and also constantly being humbled by how much I don't know, but that's OK, too).

Posted by lynnharper over 1 year ago (Flag)

There still could be more potential observations lurking if they haven't been ID'd at all, if they're ID'd to a level higher than you searched for, or if they're incorrectly ID'd but no one has disagreed yet. No way really to find all of them, but this is pretty close.

Posted by arboretum_amy over 1 year ago (Flag)

how on Earth did I miss this post, rip me and great job Amy!
working on this week's rankings right now ;)

Posted by trh_blue over 1 year ago (Flag)

I just learned you can do multiple IDs at once with &ident_taxon_id_exclusive=
So for example &ident_taxon_id_exclusive=75603,75604 shows you things that are identified as both Asparagus setaceus and Aspargus aethiopicus. My mind is blown lol.

Posted by arboretum_amy over 1 year ago (Flag)

this is the best thing ever O_O

Posted by nomolosx over 1 year ago (Flag)


Posted by ahospers over 1 year ago (Flag)

This is brilliant advice, thank you!

Posted by lera over 1 year ago (Flag)

Whatttt I just now read this post and this is amazing! Super helpful, thanks so much for enlightening us!

Posted by esummerbell over 1 year ago (Flag)

If anyone wants to see a good example of where you can use this feature and be super helpful at the same time: there’s several hundred IDs listed as Ardisia crenata (aka Coralberry, an invasive species in the US with cool wavy leaf margins that’s only found naturalized on the gulf coast currently) when they should be ID’d as Nandina domestica (aka Heavenly Bamboo, an aggravatingly common landscaping plant that’s invasive just about anywhere). Even easier, Nandina domestica is the only species in its genus, so makes getting to species level super easy. If anyone is familiar with Nandina and wants to help clear up Ardisia/Nandina wrong ID’s, here’s the “indent” link for these two!,127010&place_id=1&verifiable=any

Posted by esummerbell over 1 year ago (Flag)

Ohhhh I’m familiar with Nandina! That will be a satisfying way to fill my breaks later today :)

Posted by lisa_bennett over 1 year ago (Flag)

Nice! I've cleaned up most of them; there's just a few left easily found at

(I changed it to do the whole world rather than USA, but edit that as you please)

Posted by arboretum_amy over 1 year ago (Flag)

I figured out a new way to use without_taxon_id. It's what I've been looking for since I started identifying! Sometimes I look through Needs ID birds in Jefferson County or Washington State, but it's always full of gulls. I just CANNOT identify gulls. So what I wanted is a way to filter by birds except gulls - and that's exactly what this is! I tried it and it worked. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

Posted by fluffyinca over 1 year ago (Flag)

For anyone interested in even more tricks and tips, there's a whole long wiki on the forum! (So long, in fact, that it got split into two halves...)
Part one here
Part two here

Posted by trh_blue over 1 year ago (Flag)

Just found it today and it's awesome! I knew there was a url for taxon id, but there're so many urls that it's exhausting to find something neededfor iding. Now it's very easy to find something you know is there!

Posted by marina_gorbunova over 1 year ago (Flag)

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