Photo Submissions: iNaturalist

The “New” Survey:

The Ohio Odonata Society is working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, ODNR to update the original survey that ran from 1991 – 2001. In this updated survey we will be utilizing both traditional collections of specimens and photographic records vetted by iNaturalist and the OOS committee. The new survey will run from 2017 through 2019.

If you have any questions about the survey, contact:

Project Researcher, MaLisa Spring (, Norm Johnson (, Bob Glotzhober (, or Jim Lemon (

Goals for the second survey of Ohio dragonflies and damselflies include:

  • to identify every species known for each county.
  • to identify species introduced/established in Ohio since the completion of the original survey.
  • to identify changes in distribution and abundance since the 1991-1999 survey.
  • to identify the status of rare species.


The Ohio Dragonfly Survey will be accepting photo submissions using iNaturalist. You can submit photos to the project via a smartphone or laptop/desktop computer.

More information can be found on this web-page and the Ohio Dragonfly Survey Project page. If you already have photos of Dragonflies and Damselflies on iNaturalist, you can choose to submit them to the project. There is no need to re-upload specimens.


Note: submissions must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted.

* Entries for iNaturalist must be photos of dragonflies or damselflies taken in Ohio
* Photos must be identifiable to species. Two or three shots that show key details are extremely helpful.
* Entries must carry scientific level of data: name of photographer;  date photo taken;  location as precise as possible.

Must include:
1. County (township if possible)
2. Site name or description to help pin location — GPS coordinates strongly desired.
* Photos will be vetted and accepted/rejected from the project based upon a) complete data; b)identifiable photo


B. Detailed iNaturalist protocol:

Photographic records of dragonflies and damselflies must be entered into a special project within the web-based iNaturalist.

Only photos where-in the species can be accurately identified will be accepted. Different species may require different views for confirmation of identification. Be sure to review species descriptions in a reference such as Paulson’s 2011 book, Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East to determine what features will need to be shown. Other suggested references are listed at the end of this paper.

If you are struggling with an ID, consider posting it to the Ohio Odonata Facebook site to get suggestions on the identification, but it will still need posted to the iNaturalist website to be included in the survey.

Notice/Warning: Avoid alerting to unscrupulous collectors to sensitive new locations of any state or federally endangered or threatened species! For such species, do not list precise locations in “open” fields. See directions below, and mark the map with GPS coordinates – but list it as “private.” This allows only yourself and the project curators/administrator to see the precise details but conceals the precise location from other viewers. Marking entries as Private maintains critical information for legitimate researchers/conservationists, but protects it from other viewers.


How to Use iNaturalist for the Ohio Odonata Survey Project

This site is accessible via several media, including some smart phones. Access and data entry procedures varies with each application, but we will present essentials for downloading photos and data via a desktop or laptop computer.

  1. Go to
  2. Move your cursor to the extreme upper right corner and log in, if you have already registered
  3. [If you are new – click on the highlighted button “Sign Up” and create an account.]
  4. Please e-mail the Ohio Dragonfly Survey Project Researcher (MaLisa Spring, and the Data Manager (Jim Lemon, with your complete name, address, e-mail, county where you live and the user name you set up with iNaturalist. That will allow us to contact you directly with any questions.
  5. After logging in – go to the top bar and select “Projects”, then under “Search Projects” type in “Ohio Odonata”, and select “Ohio Dragonfly Survey”
  6. Go the upper right corner and click on “Terms and Rules” above the button for “Add Observations for this project.” Once you have reviewed these, you can proceed to adding observations. They are reprinted here for your reference:
  7. Terms
    • Entries must be photos of dragonflies or damselflies taken in Ohio
    • Photos must be identifiable to species. Often 2 or 3 shots show key details such as in field guides are extremely helpful.
    • Entries must carry scientific level of data.
      • name of photographer
      • date photo taken
      • location as precise as possible.
    • Must include:
      • County (township if possible)
      • Site name or description to help pin location (can be simple like “State Route 56 at Mad River” or “backyard in Athens, Ohio” or “Big Walnut Creek at confluence with Alum Creek” or something else that will enable to site to located.
      • GPS coordinates strongly desired. These can usually be selected from the map photo that appears when you enter your data.
      • * Photos will be vetted and accepted/rejected from the project based upon a) complete data; b) identifiable photo
    • Common names and scientific names should be used from Paulson’s “Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East”.
  8. Make certain you are in the Project, Ohio Dragonfly Survey. Then click on the button at the upper right of the screen that says: Add Observations to this Project.
  9. What did you see? Type in the species name. Typing the common name should pull up a box with the accepted common name and scientific name. Select that name.
  10. Under Description — If it is NOT a rare species, add details here as to the location. Such as: “1/4 mile below St. Rt. 125 bridge on Ohio Brush Creek, Adams County”. For State or Federal Listed species, leave this public box blank – but be sure to precisely locate the collection site on the adjacent map.
  11. Name of Place. If not rare, add the site’s name (i.e. Clear Creek Metro Park, Prairie Ridge section). For Listed species, say only “Champaign County, Sedge Meadow” or “Big Darby Creek, Franklin Co.”
  12. Add Photo. Follow standard directions to upload your photo.
  13. Map. This is an interactive map that allows you to zoom in and select almost the exact spot you collected your image. Two views are available: Map (shows roads, etc.) or Satellite (shows vegetation, bodies of water, etc.) Select the view that helps you the most, or toggle back and forth between them as you zoom in on the area. When you are satisfied, click your mouse over the spot – and it will add a marker, plus below the map list the GPS coordinates, county and other location information.
  14. Important Note: Below the map is a box that says: “Change geoprivacy:” and a drop down list that includes: “Open”, “Obscured” and “Private.” For most records, select Open, which allows all visitors to the site to see the location. If it is a State Listed or Federally Endangered species – select Private. The private geoprivacy selection will allow you to see the full data, as well as the Project Administrators and Curators. They can share such info with qualified researchers, but no one else will be able to see the precise GPS location. This aids in protecting sensitive species.
  15. Please add the Ohio “Species Number” from the Ohio list in the file/page “Helpful Aids for Adding Data to the Ohio Odonata Survey”
  16. Often within a day or so, other users will review and comment on your identification. If it is vetted as accurate by 2 or 3 qualified reviewers, it automatically becomes marked as research quality.


For a paper copy of the above iNaturalist Photographic Collections protocol, click here.

For a paper copy of Helpful Aids for Adding Data, click here.