[Taxacom] Publication of Species Numbers Report

Arthur Chapman taxacom3 at achapman.org
Wed Sep 30 17:54:06 CDT 2009

The second edition of the report "Numbers of Living Species in Australia 
and the World" was launched by Peter Garrett, the Minister for the 
Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts in Townsville on Tuesday.

This is a complete revision and has been the result of a collaborative 
effort by scientists around Australia and the World who were only too 
willing to cooperate and to provide me with information and 
publications.  I thank all those who were involved. 

The report gives figures for the total number of described species for 
the world at just under 1,900,000 - this is well above the 1,786,000 
given in the previous report.  The figure for Australia on the other had 
is significantly below that of the previous report, with just under 
150,000 now listed. This reduction is largely due to estimates for the 
number of insects where there has been considerable study and new 
reports published as well as feedback following publication of the 
previous report. The estimate of the total number of species in the 
world is now close to 11 million, and for Australia, about 570,000.  The 
numbers of known species has been estimated by collating information 
from systematists, taxonomic literature, online resources and previous 

Publication of the previous report in 2006 appears to have been a 
catalyst for scientists in some groups to look more closely at the 
numbers in their specialist group and this has been very important in 
refining the numbers in this current report.

The full report can be downloaded in pdf from the 

It should be cited as:

         Chapman, A.D. (2009). /Numbers of living Species in Australia 
and the World/ 2^nd edn. 80 pp. Canberra: Australian Biological 
Resources Study. ISBN (printed): 978 0 642 56849 6; ISBN (online): 978 0 
642 56850 2.  [Available electronically at 

I hope you find this publication of use.

Arthur D. Chapman
Toowoomba, Australia

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