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Animals, plants and fungi

Numbers of species of animals, plants and fungi in Germany and globally

Animals
Species group Number of species in GermanyNumber of species globally
Vertebrates
MammalsMammalia104≈ 5.513
BirdsAves328 1)≈ 10.425
ReptilesReptilia13≈ 10.038
AmphibiansAmphibia22> 7.302
Fish an lampreysPisces/Cyclostomata197> 32.900
Invertebrates
InsectsHexapoda> 33.305 1)> 1.000.000
CrustaceansCrustacea> 1.067 1)> 47.000
CheliceratesChelicerata> 3.783 1)> 102.248
MolluscsMollusca635> 85.000
Other invertebrates > 5.328 1)> 71.002
ProtozoansProtozoa≈ 3.200 1)> 8.118 2)
Total animals > 48.000> 1.380.000

Plants
Species group Number of species in Germany Number of species globally
Seed plantsSpermatophyta2.988 3)≈ 270.000 4)
FernsPteridophyta74 3)≈ 12.000 4)
MossesBryophyta1.053 5)≈ 16.000 4)
Charophyte green algaeCharophyceae40≈ 300
Chlorophyte green algaeChlorophyceae (in the broader sense)?≈ 6.000 6)
Conjugate algae (encluding desmids)Conjugatophyceae≈ 1.500≈ 5.000
Brown algaePhaeophyceae (=Fucophyceae)> 205> 1.500
Yellow green algaeTribophyceae> 50≈ 600
DiatomsBacillariophyceae≈ 3.000> 9.000 6)
Gold algaeChrysophyceae?≈ 1.000
Calcareous algaePrymnesiophyceae?> 500
Red algaeRhodophyceae> 533> 6.500 6)
Various phytoflagellatesChloromonadophyceae and others?> 3.000
Total Plants > 9.500> 330.000

Fungi
Species group Number of species in Germany Number of species globally
Club fungiBasidiomycota (Fungi)≈ 5.700≈ 30.000
Sac fungiAscomycota (Fungi)≈ 7.000≈ 100.000
Zygote fungiZygomycota (Fungi)≈ 200≈ 1.000
Arbuskular mykorrhizal fungiGlomeromycota (fungi)< 50≈ 500
ChytridsChytridiomycetes and others (fungi)≈ 100> 1.000
Egg mouldsOomycota (Straminipila)≈ 500≈ 2.000
Slime nets and hyphochytrid water mouldsLabyrinthulomycota and Hyphochytriomycota (Straminipila)≈ 50≈ 50
Slime mouldsMyxomycota (Amoebozoa) 373 7)> 1.500
Fungus-like organismsPlasmodiophoromycota (Rhizaria) und Acrasiomycota (Excavata)< 20< 100
Total fungi ≈ 14.000 ≈ 140.000

Globally
Species group Number of species in
Germany
Number of species
globally
Total > 71.500> 1.800.000

Sources: Numbers of animal species in Germany after Haupt et al. 2009, Binot-Hafke et al. 2011 and Becker et al. 2013 and globally after IUCN 2014; numbers of plant species in Germany and globally after Ludwig and Schnittler 1996; Numbers of fungus species in Germany and globally after Thines 2016 (some groups combined: Entorrhizomycota included under club fungi and Microsporidia, Neocallimastigomycota and Blastocladiomycota included under Chytrids); supplemented and updated by

1) Völkl et al. 2004, 

2) Mora et al. 2011,

3) Wisskirchen and Haeupler 1998 (excluding microspecies, mostly apomicts),

4) Chapman 2009 (all figures rounded),

5) Koperski et al. 2000,

6) Guiry and Guiry 2015 (all figures rounded),

7) Schnittler et al. 2011.


Information as of: see sources

The global total numbers of species are rough estimates. The figures for Germany are well known for vertebrates, ferns and seed plants, mosses and lichens, and some groups of invertebrates, algae and fungi.

Detailed Sources

Majority of species still unknown to science

Some 1.8 million species (animals, plants and fungi) have so far been described worldwide. About 71,500 of these have been recorded in Germany. A full inventory of all species living on the planet today is beyond the current resources of science. It is feared that many species may become extinct before they are discovered, especially among the least-studied species groups.

Species diversity in Germany is relatively low on a global scale

Current estimates for the number of animal species go far beyond the 1.38 million species described globally and range between two million and 11 million. For invertebrates especially, species numbers are only well known for specific regions. Due to its geological history and geographical location, Germany ranks among the regions with relatively low species diversity on a global comparison, with about 48,000 animal species. The estimated number of animal species has increased in recent decades, however, due to methodological improvements in species identification, new discoveries and new arrivals, and the division of previously classified taxa into separate species. In addition, new discoveries can continue to be expected, most of all among invertebrates.

Many new plant species discovered in the tropics and in marine habitats

In the well-studied group of ferns and seed plants, some 282,000 species are currently described worldwide. New species continue to be detected, however, especially in the tropics. On the other hand, taxonomic analysis repeatedly shows existing species names to be synonymous, thus reducing the numeric total. This is also seen in the mosses, where the effect of synonymy has so far predominated. Among algae, it is primarily the single-celled organisms that are insufficiently well studied and many new descriptions can be expected from the marine environment.

Lichens and macrofungi considered well-studied

Fungi also include the generally well-studied group of lichens. Most macrofungi and phytoparasitic fungi have been identified, whereas many microfungi still await discovery or are only known from the location where they were first described.

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