Miscellaneous Lists

Vertebrate Species Counts (by Class)

Admittedly, the term "Class" is used rather loosely here. The classification of the vertebrates has been and seems to be continuing to be reworked by specialists and is further being complicated by the rules of Cladistics. I have no doubt that the names for many of the groupings (and indeed the groupings themselves) that I have used will draw criticism from somewhere. To help reduce the confusion I have tried to identify with common names, the creatures I have included in the groupings. I have not invented terms, but I am sure that not all of them reflect the latest classifications or nomenclature.

These are approximate numbers of living species, which I expect to update as newer, and/or better information comes to my attention . Two authoritative sources for current classification information are: The Taxonomy Browser of the NCBI and the Tree Of Life Project. (My principal references will follow the table.)


 Common Name(s)

 Number of Species
 Myxini  Hagfishes  43
 Cephalaspidomorphi  Lampreys  41
 Chondrichthyes**  Sharks, Rays & Chimaeras  846
 Sharks & Rays
 Sarcopterygii  Lungfishes, Lobefins  7
 Actinopterygii**  Ray-finned fishes  23,681
 Bichirs, Sturgeons, Paddlefishes
 Gars, Bowfins
 Teleost fishes
 Lissamphibia  Frogs, Salamanders, Caecilians  4,060
 Frogs, Toads
 Salamanders, Newts
 "Reptilia"  Lizards, Snakes, Turtles, Crocodilians, etc.  7,967
 Gekkos, Skinks, Iguanas and other lizards
 Gavials, Crocodiles, Alligators
 Mammalia**  Mammals  4,675
 Echidnas & Platypuses
 Possums, Kangaroos and other marsupials
 Placental mammals
 Aves**  Birds  9,702

 GRAND TOTAL (approx)
 51,400 species

** = More detailed Table to follow

 Principal sources: "The Variety of Life" by Colin Tudge  Oxford University Press, 2000
  "Fishes of the World" by Joseph Nelson  Wiley & Sons, 1994
  "Walker's Mammals of the World" by Ronald Nowak Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991
   Reptile Species Statistics Website  

Date of this page version: 2-8-01

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