iNaturalist is a citizen science app that you can use to track wildlife that you see. This app is among the most popular citizen science apps. The app’s interface is user friendly and allows everyone, not just scientists, to learn more about various species including plants, animals, insects, and more. 

How to use the app 

First, take a picture of any plants, animals, or insects you find interesting. Upload the picture onto the app by pressing the camera button that says “Observe” on the bottom of the screen. If you know the name of the species, you can upload the picture with that name. You can also explore other people’s pictures of different species. If you are unsure of the name of species that you found, you might be able to find the name by looking at other people’s observations. After you upload the picture, other users may comment to help you properly identify the species.   

How you can get the app?

To download and install the app on Android and Apple devices, use the following links.

Get the app for an Android!

Get the app for an Apple!

Once you download the app, create your own account using an existing email address. Then, create a username and password that you can remember.

Why using iNaturalist is fun and important

iNaturalist lets you take pictures of all kinds of wildlife, then upload the image with the location where you took the image. Every observation that you upload on the app will contribute to Global Biodiversity research. Your observations will facilitate the opportunity for scientists to learn more about changes in the environment. The user can also learn other interesting facts about plants, animals, and insects by looking at other user’s observations. 

For more information, visit the iNaturalist website.

Now that you have the iNaturalist app, we challenge you find and identify one plant, one animal, and one insect that you find interesting in your community. Take pictures and describe why you think they are interesting. Submit your answers by direct messaging our Instagram account at @YCITYSCI for the chance to win a prize and be featured on our page! New iNaturalist related questions will be added to our Instagram story and page throughout the week. Respond to these questions to have a chance to win additional prizes!

Fun Facts!

We hope you all enjoyed our week of BudBurst activities! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments about those activities. 

We are now going to transition into our next week full of iNaturalist activities! Below are some interesting facts about local wildlife. Are there any other local wildlife facts that you would like to share with our team? Message us to let us know!

  1. Zebra mussels are an invasive species that invaded many lakes and rivers in the United States, including the Illinois River. 
  2. Illinois is home to approximately 200 different species of fish. 
  3. More than 400 species of bird have been reported in Illinois. An estimated 200 species of bird nest in Illinois. 
  4. Otters, coyotes, deer, beaver, and muskrats can be found along the Mississippi River recovering mussels. 
  5. Bluegill and sunfish are among the fish commonly found in Illinois lakes. 
  6. Wild Hydrangea plants are native and locally common in southern Illinois.
  7. Illinois has 13 native bat species.
  8. There are a number of invasive fish species in Illinois including: bighead carp, black carp, round goby, walking catfish, and snakehead. 
  9. There are a great deal of invasive plants found in Illinois. 
  10. White-tailed deer can be found throughout Illinois. 
  11. There are more than 120 fish that call the Mississippi River their home. 
  12. Corn earworms can be found eating and damaging farmers’ corn crops.
  13. The Mississippi river hosts two major types of algae: green and blue-green.
  14. Duckweed is an aquatic plant found in the Mississippi River that’s roots dangle in the water to suck up nutrients.
  15. Eastern cottontail rabbits and red foxes are among the many common Illinois mammals that you could see in your backyard. 

Photo Credits

Photo of a Chinese Praying Mantis from iNaturalist by OwenKathriner on SIUE’s Campus.

Photo of a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar from iNaturalist by Nedster on SIUE’s Campus.