How to view multiple common names at once

Modified on Tue, 06 Feb 2024 at 03:45 PM

Some people would like to see common names for taxa in a different langauge than their chosen locale for iNaturalist. For example, you may use the app in English but want to see Spanish names for species, or indigenous names for the flora and fauna in a region. In the Content & Display section of your Account Settings, you can choose up to three common name lexicons to view at once. While you must manage these preferences on the iNaturalist website, your preferred names will be displayed in the iNaturalist mobile apps as well.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to your Account Settings page, then click on Content & Display on the left-hand side.

  2. You’ll see the Common Name Lexicons section on the right. Note that you can choose up to three common names to display.

  3. If you have already chosen a place preference for your common names, prior to the release of multiple common names functionality, you’ll see it listed below. For example here’s what I saw as I had already chosen United States as my place preference for common names. You can keep that or delete it if you want. I’ll just delete it to make rest of this tutorial cleaner.

  4. Pick a lexicon for your first common name preference. Optionally, you can choose a place for that lexicon. The “place” choice is mostly for languages that are widely spoken, where common names for the same taxon differ by region. I’ve chosen English for my lexicon and United States for my place because I want to see English names used in the United States (which is where I live).

  5. Click Add a common name lexicon

  6. You’ll see it now appear below, under Common Name Lexicon Display Order

  7. If you don’t want to add any other lexicons, scroll up and click Save Settings. If you want to add more common name lexicons, select a new lexicon (and, optionally, a place for it). Then click on Add a common name lexicon.

  8. Once you have chosen more than one common name lexicons, you can drag and drop them to determine their display order (left to right). You can also delete one or more. For example, I’ve chosen three lexicons, and when they’re displayed on other pages I’ll see them in the order of English (United States), Hawaiian, and Japanese.

  9. Once you’re finished choosing and ordering name lexicons, scroll up and click on Save Settings.

  10. You’ll now see those names on iNaturalist! For example:


  • If there is no common name in a certain lexicon in iNat’s database, no name will be displayed.

  • The iNaturalist Android app is able to display two lines of names, but in the iOS/iPadOS app the names may be truncated if they’re too long.

  • This functionality also works if you’ve opted to see scientific names first.

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