Wednesday, March 13, 2013

IndianMoths group gears up for systematic data collection

I would like to share an encouraging story of how just a handful of Naturalists are putting together a impressive data on Indian moths. I am talking about the IndianMoths project on iNaturalist.

It started less than a year back. While exploring for a suitable framework for collecting biodiversity records stumbled upon iNaturalist. (Thanks to Dr. Carol Spencer and Dr. Michelle Koo for a quick hands on session). We initiated IndianMoths project on iNaturalist and started posting our Moth observations there. Soon we had more members joined in and Dr. Roger Kendrick (hkmoths) was very active helping us get the identities and also posted his moth observations from India. 

iNaturalist has some nice features like identifying the photos at various taxonomic levels one is comfortable with i.e. if the photo does not show all the characters to confirm a species, we can always link it up to Genus level or tribe level. Another benefit of contributing to iNaturalist is the data upon peer review,  is shared in GBIF data portal to a wider scientific community. 

With the true spirit of DiversityIndia which is not only for India and Indian sub continent, Nuwan Chathuranga joined in a contributed a lot of records to the project from Sri Lanka. He has also been helping members with the identifications. Other member who contributed to this are Alok who gave the project a big jump start. Dr. Vijay Anand, RohitMGchiefredearth have been contributing steadily. 

As of now with just 10 members we have more than 1000 records and there is no sign of slowing down. 

Now let us do some simple math, we have combined membership of about 1000 on our groups on Yahoo, Fb and Google+. Even if 10% members (about 100) start regularly contributing records, we could very quickly reach 10000 records mark, which will be really useful data source for further analysis. And the current 10 members have shown us the way and proved that this can be done. Shall we start with a modest target of 5000 records by end of this year ? We are already 20% done and we have a big group to collaborate. 

If you are on India Biodiversity Postal you may like to contribute to IndianMoths Group there too. And we are also participating in National Moth Week (NMW) which would give us more opportunities to collect data and collaborate.

Let us hit 5000 records mark !!!


  1. iNaturalist ( is the website where this particular project ( is hosted. To access iNaturalist, one can use any existing id like Yahoo, Flickr, Google or Facebook.

    Once you log in, visit the project ( and join it.

    Next step is to post records, which can be done by linking your Flickr, Facebook accounts or uploading the photos directly form your computer. We need to provide, Date and Place for each observation and then add it to relevant projects.

    Once the observation is uploaded, we can request for identification or confirmation of id. This follows a peer review process, so once someone confirms your id, and it has basic information, it becomes a research grade observation and is made available through GBIF and other networks as I mentioned in the post.

    This is my brief explanation. More experienced members might add some more details. Feel free to ask more questions.

  2. Good post Vijay, We need more members to join and submit their observations. hopefully we will archive our target by end of this year. maybe you should pin the post about this article in IndianMoths fb group to get more attention.

    best regards..

  3. That is a great suggestion Nuwan ji of pinning the post on Facebook group. And thank you for leading the efforts of Moth documentation of your region. Let us work together to improve the participation and hit the target.

  4. Hi friends, I am a professional photographer not a researcher or specialist in moth. I have some collection and don't know the name and species.

  5. @Biju please post your records, and all of us can help you with the identifications. You just need the date and place of the photo when you post. identification can be updated later as people suggest them, and can be continuously refined till we are satisfied. Eagerly waiting to see your records.