Biodiversity

Life on earth consists of roughly 1,750,000 known species.  Scientists differ in their best guesses on how many species currently inhabit the earth, but 3 – 100 million is the generally accepted range.  

Biodiversity is unevenly distributed across the planet due to many factors.  Altitude, temperature, composition, and rainfall are just some of the variables that help determine species diversity and distribution.  Rich plant growth generally fosters a more vibrant array of animal life resulting in abundant allocation of species in and around tropical regions.  This is because plants, directly and indirectly, supply the energy needs for all life on earth through photosynthesis. 

Greater biodiversity helps to promote natural environmental systems like water and air filtering.  Supporting biodiversity involves protecting animal and plant habitat throughout the world.  Even single trees in the rain forests of Central America have shown hundreds of species of insects unique to that tree alone.  Every chunk of forest destroyed potentially destroys hundreds of beneficial organisms.  With this habitat destruction, we lose the ability to gather information that is useful in medications and new technologies.  

It is because of this that it is important to protect our natural environment and continue to promote a healthy planet that can sustain a variety of organisms.


 

All Known Life – 1,750,000 species

 

The number of known species is broken down below:

Animals                                 75.7%                   1,324,000 known species

Plants                                    15.4%                    270,000

Protists                                  4.6%                     80,000

Fungi                                     4.1%                     72,000

Bacteria                                 0.2%                      4000

Archaea                                 0.3%                      500

 

Animal group expanded:

Insects                                  72.7%                    963,000

Other groups                        7.5%                      99,000

Arachnids                             5.7%                      75,000

Molluscs                               5.3%                      70,000

Vertebrates                           3.9%                      52,000                  

Crustaceans                         3.0%                      40,000

Roundworms                        3.0%                      25,000

 

Vertebrates broken down further:

Fishes                                   48.0%                    24,900

Birds                                     19.0%                    9,880

Reptiles                                14.0%                    7,280

Amphibians                          10.0%                    5,200

Mammals                               9.0%                     4,680