[Taxacom] Total number of name-bearing types
sdmanning at asub.edu
Thu Jan 15 16:37:22 CST 2009
Of course what is meant by "accepted" or "generally recognized"
species would have to be defined. The "lumper-splitter" issue comes
into play here. To state a probably over-used cliche, the accepted
number in a particular group depends on who has the latest
publication in that group. Even if two or more species are combined
in a valid publication, not all workers in the group may agree with
the combination. Maybe not all Dipterologists would agree that
154,000 is the actual number of flies - some may think 185,000 is
closer to the actual number (?).
This At 08:03 PM 1/14/2009, Kenneth Kinman wrote:
> This is a very interesting question, and I was happy to see that
>Chris Thompson could provide some minimal numbers for Diptera: "at
>least" 185,000 type specimens for about 154,000 species of flies.
>However, I was disappointed that there was no further discussion for
>other taxa. Of course this is somewhat understandable given the
>uncertainty as to the total numbers of accepted species of living
>organisms that have been described and generally accepted.
> Anyway, Chris came up with approximately a ratio of 1.4 of type
>specimens/accepted described species. I suspect beetles are a little
>lower than 1.4, and that ants are probably higher than 1.4 (since
>syntypes series of ants can often include not only males and females,
>but workers as well). Although many mammalogists are not well tuned
>into the huge number of subspecies and synonyms (which each have their
>own types), my own studies indicate that the ratio of type specimens to
>recognized species is probably relatively high (easily 5.0, if not
>more), and I suspect the same is true of birds. I just wonder if fish
>(higher in numbers of species), also have anything like this ratio.
> In any case, I would estimate the number of described "accepted"
>species of living organisms to be at least 1,700,000. If we assume a
>minimum ratio of 1.5 for organisms as whole, we are talking about a
>2,350,000 type specimens. I suspect that it is closer to 3,000,000 if
>not more. I just wish I knew more about the prevalence of angiosperm
>syntype series (and their numbers) to estimate the ratio for that rather
>speciose group. Is it much greater than 1.4 that was estmated for the
>minimum of Dipteran type specimens? An estimated ratio for molluscs
>(another speciose group) would also be helpful.
> Ken Kinman
>Taxacom Mailing List
>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>The entire Taxacom Archive back to 1992 can be searched with either
>of these methods:
>Or use a Google search specified
>as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
More information about the Taxacom