iNaturalist April News Highlights

iNaturalist broke records this April thanks to an amazing City Nature Challenge. For the first time we logged more than 6 million observations and more than 400 thousand participants in a month! If you missed last month’s highlights, you can catch up here.

Species Discoveries

Here are three exciting species discovery highlights from April:

A. In Argentina, @lrubio7 and @typophyllum published a new species of katydid with an ultrasonic call. This article details their challenges capturing a specimen and the role iNaturalist played in describing the Tuyú meadow katydid.

B. In French Guiana, @elendil_c captured the first living photograph of a spectacular mantis species. It was identified by @piskomantis. The female of the species remains unknown.

C. In Panama, while testing a new Automated Monitoring of Insects system, @mlarrivee posted a moth that @neoarctia recognized as a species that hasn’t been recorded since it was described over 100 years ago.

Distributions and Range Extensions

iNaturalist is helping scientists understand species distributions and how they are changing at in real time. Here are three examples from this month:

D. In Trinidad and Tobago, this beautiful tuft moth posted by @rainernd is just one of many country records @matthewcock has found on iNaturalist and compiled in a new paper.

E. In Mexico, @el_maldo, @jorgehvaldez, and @annyperalta published a paper on the expansion of a Blue-eyed Ensign Wasp into Baja Mexico likely following the expansion of its cockroach host. They acknowledge @bdagley and @adeans for identifying the relevant observations such as this one posted by @andrea_navarro20.

F. In Hawai‘i, @dryrunner found the first record of Hairy Tare described in a new paper authored by @kphilley.

Invasive Species Science

Since 1970, invasive species have cost the world economy over 1 trillion dollars. These April examples show how iNaturalist is being used in the early detection and control of invasive species.

G. In California, @gloval75 found an Ocellated Bronze Skink that likely hitchhiked from the Mediterranean via the nursery trade. In a new paper described here, @gregpauly explains how observations like these help trace introduction pathways in order to preempt the future introduction of damaging pests.

H. In Canada, @etienne_normandin explains here how iNaturalist is being used to track and stop the invasion of Wandering Broadhead Planarians through observations like this one from @bmtf.

I. In South Africa, @daverichardson describes in this new paper how iNaturalist observations like this one from @graceemmy are helping understand the invasion of Myoporum shrubs.

Conservation Science

These stories show how iNaturalist is being used to inform conservation decision making and to monitor conservation effectiveness.

J. From Brazil, in this video clip, @felipewalter summarizes a recent paper with @zamoner_maristela @rodrigogoncalves on how iNaturalist is valuable for bee monitoring and conservation.

K. In Texas, this observation by @scincus of a Broad-banded Copperhead and others in the Roadkills of Texas project were used by @jamestracy and colleagues in models that will help mitigate roadkills.

L. In California, the Xerces blue famously went extinct as San Francisco sand dunes were developed. This story describes how @farinosa and colleagues have reintroduced the closely related silvery blue to restored sand dunes in the city and will use iNaturalist to monitor the population.

Climate Change Science

Here are two stories that illustrate how iNaturalist can be used to understand impacts from climate change:

M. In Belgium, @antmacdf and colleagues explain how iNaturalist observations like this one from @tigojac can be used to monitor and mitigate the damaging invasive termites that they predict will expand into many more cities with climate change.

N. In California, @singleuseplanet explains how Nudibranchs response to ocean warming makes them useful indicators of climate change and how iNaturalist can be used to track this response.


iNaturalist is a powerful tool for understanding the timing of natural history events. Here are three examples from this month.

O. Across the eastern US, two different Periodical Cicada broods are emerging at the same time. This New York Times article describes the event and how iNaturalist is being used to track observations. This article describes @willkuhn’s view of the emergence from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Don’t miss @imperfectfunguy’s “hyper-sexual zombie cicadas that are infected with sexually transmitted fungus” subplot to this story or @cicadamania’s amazing process for using iNaturalist to predict when Cicadas will emerge.

P. In Europe, @tr0scot and colleagues used iNaturalist observations like this one from @konstakal in a new paper revealing the nocturnal behavior of Grass Snake.

Q. In California, a recent study used iNaturalist observations such as this Spotted Sand Bass by @bregnier to understand the massive die off associated with a 2020 Red Tide.


The new field of iEcology or imageomics involves extracting information about ecology from images. iNaturalist is providing the scalable supply of annotated biodiversity images that is driving this field. This recent article provides an imageomics workflow for incorporating iNaturalist big data into machine learning models.

R. In Uraguay, this study used iNaturalist observations like this one from @tianal to understand the diet of two South American Caracara species.

AI Naturalist

While much of the AI race is being driven by monetization and an extractive relationship with creators, iNaturalist is committed to an alternative approach to AI research grounded in commons-based peer production and open data principles. Here are some recent AI research papers that make use of the iNaturalist open dataset:

The long-tail nature of iNaturalist observation (few species with many observations and many species with few observations) makes it a useful dataset for investigating methods for dealing with unbalanced data as in these papers by Rangwani et al., Yang et al., and Hong et al.

S. iNaturalist data is also useful for developing Vision Language Models that are increasingly able to explain AI identifications. For example, the model by Chiquier et al. at Columbia University is able to generate explanations like “twisted curved branches” to describe this Greenleaf Manzanita by @sandor_in. Other Vision Language Model studies from April leveraging iNaturalist include Bendou et al. and Tao et al.

Bioblitzes and Events

There were many City Nature Challenge news stories due to the record-breaking 683 cities participating — so many that there are separate projects for North & South America and Eurasia, Africa, & Oceania. This article described how @kestrel and @lhiggins have grown the annual event. This article by @lmata and colleagues in Australia describes their recent Bioscience paper on how CNC is improving local government biodiversity management decision making.

There were many stories about Earth Day Bioblitzes such as this one built on the Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life project that quotes organizer @richardcouse.

T. Last but not least, there was ongoing coverage about iNaturalist and the April eclipse including this nice article in the Smithsonian Magazine that included this striking closing okra flower by @owensdc from the 2017 eclipse. We couldn’t resist sharing this map of observations on April 8, 2024 where the path of the eclipse can be clearly seen in the observation activity.

iNaturalist and Human Health

This month, stories describing how iNaturalist is benefiting human well-being ranged from articles on iNaturalist and Biomimetics (drawing inspiration from nature to solve human problems), to foraging culture in Iceland, to tracking the spread of malaria.

iNaturalist’s Education Impact

U. Students participating in Bioblitzes is an important way that iNaturalist impacts education. This photo by @maninder6398 shows students participating in City Nature Challenge 2024: Nanakmatta.

Classroom activities involving iNaturalist owe their success to great teachers. This article describes the mothing expeditions that @cmeckerman leads his Austin Community College students on. This study from Portugal describes use of iNaturalist on university campuses.

iNatters in the News

V. From California, we loved reading @tkestrel’s article on her passion for wildflowers.

W. From Texas, this article on the scrappy badger includes some great quotes from @jonahevans.

X. @wanderingbotanistph’s efforts to promote conservation of endangered Rafflesia species through social media and iNaturalist projects continue to inspire us.

Lastly, we’re so grateful for all the fantastic outreach being done by the iNaturalist community. Three examples include this great podcast featuring @joemdo, @gyrrlfalcon, @catchang, @griffith, and @naturesarchive, this outstanding Guide to iNaturalist by @thebeachcomber, and this pdf guide to herping with iNaturalist by @brittanymmason @tysmith and @coreytcallaghan.

Thank you to everyone who participated this April - our biggest month ever on iNaturalist! You can become an iNaturalist supporter by clicking the link below:

Donate to iNaturalist

Publicado el mayo 2, 2024 10:20 MAÑANA por loarie loarie


Thank you for this digest. It's really inspiring to see the big picture

Publicado por natalya_vilyaeva hace alrededor de 2 meses

Wow. Just. Wow. So glad to be a small part of this ever-burgeoning place/concept/hub for nature!

Publicado por gyrrlfalcon hace alrededor de 2 meses

Very interesting!

Publicado por sedgequeen hace alrededor de 2 meses

One small correction! The two Magicicada broods this year are not "15-year" cicadas. There is no such thing. The brood in northern Illinois has a 17-year cycle, and the brood across most of the Southeast and Midwest has a 13-year cycle.

Publicado por humanbyweight hace alrededor de 2 meses

Thanks, @humanbyweight! I've removed the incorrect cycle length and added a link to wikipedia about cicada broods.

Publicado por carrieseltzer hace alrededor de 2 meses

Thank you @carrieseltzer 😊

Publicado por humanbyweight hace alrededor de 2 meses

Amazing job guys! let's hope that we get even more amazing results next year!

Publicado por animaldude4000 hace alrededor de 2 meses

It's interesting that a paper acknowledged adeans and I. That said, as we said to one of the authors before it's publication, Evania appendigaster has actually probably been in Baja for at least 100 years, and the first record on iNaturalist isn't the first record among all external sources. Note that the species is so widespread worldwide because it's intentionally introduced to control cockroach pests, and then from there can easily spread to further localities.

Publicado por bdagley hace alrededor de 2 meses

Awesome! Not from this April, but one of my most exciting inat observing experiences was getting what turned out to be a state record of an invasive species never previously detected in Montana (later collected and published!). Good to see this application of inat recognized!

Publicado por wildskyflower hace alrededor de 2 meses

This is awesome and so inspiring! I just hosted an Earth Day BioBlitz event utilizing iNaturalist, and it's such a fun way to get people to notice all the nature around them, and be more present in outdoor spaces. There's so much incredible work being done with information gathered by citizen scientists and biologists alike - along with a whole lot of fun!

Publicado por tristanhayes hace alrededor de 2 meses

Love these highlight posts!

Publicado por bcfl14 hace alrededor de 2 meses

I find myself getting emotional reading about how our contributions to iNaturalist are guiding planning and management for communities and habitats and specific species. One of the things I now highlight when telling others about iNaturalist is the importance of documenting species as local weather and global climate changes are more apparent, to track the migration of plants and animals as seen over decades rather than "simply" the most recent drought or wet winter. Personally, participating on this platform in recording observations has taught me a lot about my local flora and fauna that I thought I knew a lot about already. I love giving back to the iNat community by providing ID's and confirmations for others -- it's a great mind-building practice as well as living vicariously through what other people are observing! THANK YOU to all who make this platform continue to grow and be supported. I especially enjoy participating in local bii-blitzes, so keep 'em coming!

Publicado por wildmare64 hace alrededor de 2 meses

Another bioblitz in April was gall week

Publicado por lappelbaum hace alrededor de 2 meses

This was very inspiring and lovely to read. I love seeing these tangible effects iNat and its community have on the field of biology and betterment of many things -- please do keep it up! :)

Publicado por pinefrog hace alrededor de 2 meses

This is hands down my favorite newsletter on the internet, amazing stories!

Publicado por radrat hace alrededor de 2 meses

Fantástico e increiblemente productivo y participativo este mes de abril.
Realmente genial pertenecer a esta comunidad.
Todo esto es inspirador para seguir contribuyendo.

Publicado por bilbaomdq hace alrededor de 2 meses

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