Join iNaturalist and get your nature photos identified to species

Reader Susan Heller called my attention to a new free program called iNaturalist, run by the Cal Academy, where you can register (takes one minute: just give a login name, email, and password), and then submit your nature photos. There’s no downside. As Susan wrote:

Your readers who send wildlife photos might enjoy joining iNaturalist. You post your photos on this site, and if you’re not sure of the identification, other members will help identify your postings.  I recently posted a couple of dragonfly photos (and I know nothing about dragonflies except that they emerge from nymphs), and within 30 minutes both had been identified!  I love the name “Black Saddlebags,” one of the dragonflies with bizarre black ‘bags’ on its wings. Various groups also check the site and add your observations to their data bases – especially the bird and biodiversity groups. Anyway, is the address.

I’m sure you’re curious about the Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata), so here it is:


This is a project of The iNaturalist Network, which describes itself like this:

iNaturalist is an global community of naturalists, scientists, and members of the public sharing over a million wildlife sightings to teach one another about the natural world while creating high quality citizen science data for science and conservation. The iNaturalist technology infrastructure and open source software is administered by the California Academy of Sciences as part of their mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth.

If any reader needs an ID, try it out and report back here.


  1. johndhynes
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I think the title is misspelled.

  2. ploubere
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Nice! Sometimes the web is grand.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Good to know. I liked the saddlebags dragonfly, and would love to see one.
    Dragonflies so often have been given the coolest names. Pondhawk, Skimmer, Dragon-hunter, etc.

  4. Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    V cool!


  5. ToddP
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    That’s very cool, and a great resource for learning. Cal Academy rocks!

  6. John Harshman
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I tried it, with sad results. I was told that my hoped-for (and absurdly rare) miombo blue-eared starling (Lamprotornis elizabeth) was in fact an extremely common greater blue-eared starling (L. chalybaeus.

    Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

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