More than 10,000 reptile species have been recorded into the Reptile Database, a web-based catalogue of all living reptile species and classification, making the reptile species among the most diverse vertebrate groups in the world, alongside bird and fish species.
For some time, experts have projected that 2014 would mark the year that reptiles would become the most diverse vertebrate group in the world. Reptiles include snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, tuataras and amphisbaenians.
"Officially, we have logged 10,038 reptile species into the database, which is up from 9,952 that was reported in April," said Peter Uetz, Ph.D., associate professor of systems biology and bioinformatics in the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity at Virginia Commonwealth University, part of VCU Life Sciences. Uetz is the founder, editor and curator of the Reptile Database, which he operates together with Jiř Hoek, a programmer in the Czech Republic.
"Previously, 10,000 was considered the landmark number because there are approximately 10,000 bird species. However, we can predict that reptiles will be more speciose, at least on paper, than birds very soon. Finally, reptiles will be the most speciose vertebrate group after fish," said Uetz.
Speciose refers to the number of species known. Uetz added that there are "only" approximately 5,000 species of mammals and approximately 7,000 species of amphibians.
The 10,000th species recorded into the database is Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi, a tiny gecko found in the jungle of Laos in Southeast Asia, which was discovered by a team of German, Vietnamese and Lao scientists.
The discoveries that are entered into the Reptile Database are made by taxonomists working in the field studying reptiles worldwide, and those working in museum collections or laboratories. The Reptile Database receives the information from the taxonomists directly or collects it from the scient
|Contact: Sathya Achia Abraham|
Virginia Commonwealth University