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How Many New Species Are Discovered Each Year?

Each year, scientists identify about 15,000 new species of animals, plants, fungi or microorganisms. It is estimated that about 86% of existing species on Earth have yet to be discovered or identified. That percentage might be even higher for ocean species in particular, because scientists have more difficulty exploring water. Scientists often concentrate their species research on biodiversity hot spots, which are areas that are rich in biological species but are at risk of losing habitat areas because of human actions. These include regions in the Congo, the Himalayas, California, India, Australia and the Caribbean.

More about new species:

  • In 1833, British entomologist John Obadiah Westwood estimated there were 400,000 species of insects. Although more than 1 million insect species have been identified, Westwood’s estimate is significant because it is thought to be the first known estimate of biodiversity.

  • Scientists have been discovering new species at about the same pace since 1758. At this rate, it would take at least 500 more years to discover all of the species that are estimated to exist in the world.

  • As many as 10,000 species of undiscovered bacteria are thought to be present in one scoop of soil.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon334084 — On May 09, 2013

So all this gobbledegook "origin of the species" stuff is based on the "knowledge" of only 14 percent of all potential species on earth. So it's possible that "natural scientists" have been feeding us a crock of crap for all these years. It's possible then, that some of these as yet undiscovered species could change everything. Think of the implications!

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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