Number of Species Identified on Earth

Scientists have described well over over 1.7 million of the world's species of animals, plants, insects and algae.


Below you'll find a list that gives the number of species known in the world for each major category of living creatures and organisms.


The numbers most accurately represent all living species of mammals, birds and coniferous plants. Only for those groups have scientists almost completely identified all the world's species.


Biologists have yet to describe many species of plants, invertebrate animals and lichens. So the number of these species known to science increases substantially every year.


The greatest species diversity exists among insects, which account for about one million of the earth's species known to science. Mammals make up one of the smallest groups, with just 5,513 members.


Altogether the earth's oceans, lakes, continents and islands support over 66,000 identified species of vertebrate animals and more than 307,000 species of plants.

How many species known to currently exist in the world.
Category Species Totals
Vertebrate Animals
Mammals 5,513
Birds 10,425
Reptiles 10,038
Amphibians 7,302
Fishes 32,900
Total Vertebrates 66,178
Invertebrate Animals
Insects 1,000,000
Spiders and scorpions 102,248
Molluscs 85,000
Crustaceans 47,000
Corals 2,175
Others 68,827
Total Invertebrates 1,305,250
Flowering plants (angiosperms) 268,000
Conifers (gymnosperms) 1,052
Ferns and horsetails 12,000
Mosses 16,236
Red and green algae 10,386
Total Plants 307,674
Lichens 17,000
Mushrooms 31,496
Brown algae 3,127
Total Others 51,623

The species totals do not include domestic animals such as sheep, goats and camels. Nor do they include single-celled organisms such as bacteria.


The World Conservation Union. 2014. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014.3. Summary Statistics for Globally Threatened Species. Table 1: Numbers of threatened species by major groups of organisms (1996-2014).

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