How many synonyms?

Anders Silfvergrip ve-anderss at NRM.SE
Wed Jun 11 20:22:46 CDT 1997

>One simplified answer to this is the Index Kewensis data base.  I was
>told that the first IK CD-ROM had approximately one million records on
>it.  Assuming approximately 250,000 accpeted species of phanerogams,
>there are roughly three synonyms for each accepted name in phanerogams.

The following is cited from:

"...53,500 described species and subspecies of fishes. Approximately 4000
of the names included are not available for use because of technical
reasons. About 25,000 species are valid ones, and about 25,000 are
synonyms. About 200-300 new species are still being described each

The ratio for fish then is about 2:1.

I think Ernst Mayr(?) estimated the number of described bird species to
roughly 28,000. With some 8,000-9,000 valid species. This makes the birds
subequal to the figure three to one cited by Joseph Kirkbridge.

Do diurnal species with bright colours attract taxonomists?

Anders Silfvergrip
Department of Vertebrate Zoology
Swedish Museum of natural History
S-105 05 Stockholm, Sweden

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