[Taxacom] [FORGED] Re: Guess numbers of new taxa described per year?

Mark Costello m.costello at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Apr 3 15:47:42 CDT 2019

Dear Tony

We also used ION http://www.organismnames.com to get estimates of new species per year. However the web page interface is now different and I do not see how to re-calculate it. This is animal biased and also includes fossils, and probably includes some synonyms. 

At the time we found (in our 'response' paper) that ....
"From 1990 to 2012, the Index to Organism Names reported an average of 16,500 new species of animals per year, and more than 17,000 from 2006 to 2010, to which should be added new species of plants and fungi. In our Review, we used a conservative figure of 16,000 new species per year but did not take account of the fact that about 19% of these were fossils and 6% were subspecies (27)."

It would be interesting to see if this rate is being maintained.

Best wishes
From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of Tony Rees
Sent: Thursday, 4 April 2019 8:44 a.m.
To: taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Subject: [FORGED] Re: [Taxacom] Guess numbers of new taxa described per year?

Dear all,

I appreciate the responses and in particular the detailed breakdowns per group which are probably of interest to many - so any more would also be welcome.

The total of around 18,000 new species per year quoted by Costello et al.
in 2013 comes from the IISE "State of Observed Species" reports available
here: https://www.esf.edu/species/SOS.htm and I have nothing better than that (they give a total 176,311 new species described between 2000 and 2009). I did once have an idea that the annual number was a bit higher (20,000? 22,000?) but cannot now remember where I got that from and perhaps it was incorrect anyway. IISE appears to have ceased its collation activities for now which is a bit of a shame - I always enjoy the "macroscopic" view of the the world in addition to the microscopic...

From my own data (which may be a little less than 100% complete but not too much so) I have totals for new genera (all groups, extant+fossil, except
viruses) of 25,841 for 2000-2009 (around 2,580/year average) followed by
2,484 for 2010, 2,201 for 2011 and 2,319 for 2012. I also have data for more recent years but these are less complete at the present time. So this is around 50 new genus names published per week (7 per day!) for someone to track and hopefully make available in some integrated form for the benefit of users (Catalogue of Life etc.), in addition to the 340-odd new species names per week (50 or so per day)...

For families (which may be a little more incomplete in my holdings), my data give 924 new names for 2000-2009 (92/year average) followed by 127 in 2010, 99 in 2011 and 117 in 2012. Actually this is the number that most surprised me - around 100 new families every year (2 per week)... showing that higher taxonomy is still pretty dynamic with no sign of slowing  - at least part of which must be due to molecular methods showing up new divergences where not previously suspected, at least in the protists and prokaryotes where morphological criteria may be more uniform.

For reference, my data are available via http://www.irmng.org/download.php (last
update: March 2019), should you have an interest in exploring other aspects.

Tony Rees, New South Wales, Australia
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