Daily Archives: 19th of September 2010

How many species are out there?

Finding the number of distinct species is difficult: surveys must be comprehensive, hybrids must be resolved, and the species boundaries and taxonomy must be accurate. One of the major tasks is sorting out cases where the same species has two different names. Accurate knowledge both about numbers of species and their names is essential to track loss or gain of species, and to find information in the literature about their distribution, ecology and behaviour. Now, work from the Botanic Gardens at Kew, at Missouri, and from two other Institutes is suggesting that the final number of living flowering plants (angiosperms) will be about 400,000, along with 15,000 species of ferns and their allies, 1,000 gymnosperms, and 23,000 mosses and allies. As we have known for a long time, there are a million species of insects, 28,000 species of fish, 10,000 birds and 5,400 mammals. Newspaper report here: (link)