I posted an observation a few days ago and no one has added an ID to it yet. Did I do something wrong?

Modified on Thu, 1 Feb at 4:10 PM

It’s important to remember that basically all identifications on iNaturalist are made by other users who are all volunteering their time to identify observations; there are no iNaturalist staff members who are paid to add identifications. 

This means it can take some time for observations to receive identifications. As of mid-January 2024, the average time it takes for an observation to receive an ID is about 423 hours (a little under 18 days). You can check the current number on the Site Stats page. Some observations never receive an ID.

Other factors affecting time to ID are:

  • How active the identifier community is in your area. Generally, the more active users there are in a region, the sooner observations there will get identified.

  • What type of organism you observed. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians generally get identified more quickly than other taxa. Plants, fungi, insects, spiders, fish, mollusks, and others generally take longer, but this can vary.

  • Whether the photos or sounds you uploaded are helpful with identification. In general, it’s best to have close, detailed photos that depict multiple parts of the organism, such as the leaves and flowers of a plant, or the top and bottom of a mushroom cap. Blurry, distant photos are often not useful for identification.

  • How "searchable" your observation is. Adding even a coarse ID to an observation, like "Insects" or "Plants" will help users searching for observations of those taxa to find your observation. And because iNaturalist’s focus is on wild organisms, observations of captive/cultivated organisms do not turn up in search results by default, so you’re better off posting wild organisms.

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