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WoRMS Catalogue Halves Number of Marine Species
By Ian Seldrup, March 12, 2015 @ 09:30 PM (EST)
Source: WoRMS

Sousa sahulensis, one of two new dolphin species added to the register in 2014

 

Taxonomic experts are putting the finishing touches to the catalogue of marine species known as the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), after combining all existing databases into one definitive list. In the process, nearly half the 419,000 species recorded in the literature have been found to be duplicates, putting the number of marine species known to science at 228,450.

The majority of species on the list are animals—about 86 percent, or around 195,000 species—including more than 18,000 species of fish, more than 1,800 sea stars, more than 800 squids, more than 90 whales and dolphins, and nearly 9,000 clams and other bivalves. The remaining 14 percent comprises kelp, seaweeds and other plants, as well as viruses, bacteria, fungi and single-cell organisms.

Despite the number of species having been reduced during the compilation process, there is no shortage of new critters being added to the list every year. In 2014, nearly 1,500 new marine creatures were added, and an estimated 10,000 more, held in laboratories around the world, are waiting to be described.

Read more here.

 

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