I don’t agree with iNaturalist’s taxonomy. Do I have to follow it when I add an ID?

Modified on Sun, 03 Dec 2023 at 02:39 PM

As much as possible iNaturalist tries to follow secondary taxonomic authorities, for reasons explained here. We understand that not everyone will agree with the current taxonomy on iNaturalist, but we believe it is important that when you add an identification to an observation, you should follow the taxonomy here. This is important because:

  • It ensures we are all talking about the same things. While you may not personally agree with our current definition of Exampelia generica, everyone on iNaturalist will at least understand what is meant by an ID of Exampelia generica.
  • When taxonomy is updated, those updates will be correctly reflected in the ID.
  • It prevents messy taxonomic arguments on observation pages, where they don’t belong.


So if you don’t want to follow iNaturalist’s taxonomy for a taxon, please refrain from adding an ID for said taxon - you can add a polite comment instead. If you have an issue with any taxon on iNaturalist, you can go to the taxon’s page, click on Curation (under the graph) and select “Flag for curation”. There you can write a note (citing evidence), and the site curators can discuss your proposal. 

iNaturalist’s taxonomy is a communally-curated synthesis, and thus no one agrees with all of it. If you can’t accept a taxonomy that you don’t completely agree with, iNaturalist is probably not the place for you, and you should instead consider other data recording platforms.

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