Non-professional taxonomists have been responsible for describing more than half of the animal species discovered in Europe from 1998 to 2007 (see also Nature 467, 788; 2010). The extraordinary current rate of description of new species makes Europe an unexpected frontier for biodiversity exploration. The Fauna Europaea database (, released in 2004, lists more than 125,000 European species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals. More than 700 new species are described each year in Europe — four times the rate of two centuries ago. However, we have not yet reached saturation in the inventory of European fauna, and we cannot accurately estimate the total number of species living in the continent's ecosystems.

, ,
Staff publications

Fontaine, B., van Achterberg, C., Alonso-Zarazaga, M. A., Araujo, R., Asche, M., Aspöck, H., … Bouchet, P. (2010). European bounty for taxonomists. Nature, 468(7322), 377–377. doi:10.1038/468377a