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.)

 Class

 Common Name(s)

 Number of Species
 Myxini  Hagfishes  43
 Cephalaspidomorphi  Lampreys  41
 Chondrichthyes**  Sharks, Rays & Chimaeras  846
 Holocephali
 Chimaeras
 31
 Elasmobranchii
 Sharks & Rays
 815
 Sarcopterygii  Lungfishes, Lobefins  7
 Actinistia
 Coelacanths
 1
 Dipnoi
 Lungfishes
 6
 Actinopterygii**  Ray-finned fishes  23,681
 "Chondrostei"
 Bichirs, Sturgeons, Paddlefishes
 36
 "Holostei"
 Gars, Bowfins
 8
 Teleostei
 Teleost fishes
 23,637
 Lissamphibia  Frogs, Salamanders, Caecilians  4,060
 Anura
 Frogs, Toads
 3,500
 Urodela
 Salamanders, Newts
 360
 Gymnophiona
 Caecilians
 200
 "Reptilia"  Lizards, Snakes, Turtles, Crocodilians, etc.  7,967
 Chelonia
 Turtles
 294
 Sphenodontida
 Tuataras
 2
 Serpentes
 Snakes
 2,935
 Amphisbaenia
 amphisbaenids
 158
 "Lacertilia"
 Gekkos, Skinks, Iguanas and other lizards
 4,557
 Crocodylia
 Gavials, Crocodiles, Alligators
 23
 Mammalia**  Mammals  4,675
 Monotremata
 Echidnas & Platypuses
 3
  Marsupialia
 Possums, Kangaroos and other marsupials
 280
 Eutheria
 Placental mammals
 4,392
 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
   FishBase.org  
  "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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