Progress and prospects in taxonomy

Published in Journal of Arachnology, 2014.

Based on percentages of undescribed species collected during intensive recent sampling campaigns in South America, tropical Africa, and the Caribbean, the current global total number of pholcid species is estimated to range between about 4,000 and 5,000. With a current rate of descriptions at about 570 pholcid species per decade, this suggests that a global inventory could be completed within a few decades. However, I argue that a complete (or near-complete) inventory is neither realistic nor necessary and that knowing a simple majority will answer most of our questions while being a manageable task. At current rates of description, a majority of pholcid species might be known within about 20 years.

An update of this paper was published in 2019, together with Anne Chao, see here.