New approaches narrow global species estimates for beetles, insects, and terrestrial arthropods

Many suggest we are approaching a sixth mass extinction event, and yet estimates of how many species exist, and thus how many might become extinct, vary by as much as an order of magnitude. There are few statistically robust methods to estimate global species richness, and here we introduce several new methods, including one that builds on the observation that larger species are often described before smaller species. We combine these, giving equal weight to each, to provide mean global species estimates for the most speciose order, class, and phylum on Earth, beetles, insects, and arthropods (terrestrial). We attempt to aid conservation planning by broadening the range of methods used and bringing greater stability to global estimates for these taxa.

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