Catalogue of Life

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The Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life
Catalogue of Life (DVD cover).jpg
Cover of DVD version of database
Web address
Commercial? no
Type of site
Taxonomic catalogue
Registration not required
Available in English
Launched June 2001
Alexa rank
Negative increase 672,656 (Feb 2015)[1]
Current status active

The Catalogue of Life, started in June 2001 by Species 2000 and Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), is planned to become a comprehensive catalogue of all known species of organisms on Earth. The Catalogue currently compiles data from 151 peer-reviewed taxonomic databases, that are maintained by specialist institutions around the world.[2] The Catalogue provides a dynamic edition, which is updated regularly (and in which data can change without tracking of those changes) and an Annual Checklist, which provides a dated, verifiable reference for the usage of names and associated data. Development of the Catalogue of Life was funded through the 4d4Life and i4Life projects in 2009-2013.

The fifteenth edition of the catalogue lists 1.6 million species for all kingdoms as of April 2015, with coverage of well over three quarters of the estimated 1.9 million species known to science.[2]


The Catalogue of Life employs a simple data structure to provide information on synonymy, grouping within a taxonomic hierarchy, common names, distribution and ecological environment.[2]


Much of the use of the Catalogue is to provide a backbone taxonomy for other global data portals and biological collections. Through the i4Life project it has formal partnerships with Global Biodiversity Information Facility, European Nucleotide Archive, Encyclopedia of Life, European Consortium for the Barcode of Life, IUCN Red List, and Life Watch. The public interface includes both search and browse functions as well as offering multi lingual services.

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