The 9,999th Reptile

Linnaeus’s 1758 Systema Naturae, the starting point of zoological nomenclature, described 118 species of reptiles, including 74 snakes (not counting the limbless lizards and amphibians he included in the same group). It took over 100 years for the number of described species of snakes to reach 1000, an event that probably passed without much notice amid the American Civil War. Since that time, new snake species descriptions have been added at the rate of about 15 a year, although molecular taxonomy has increased this pace over the last few decades. The trends for snakes and for reptiles as a whole have been similar, and on July 9th, 2014, a team of American, German, Lao, and Vietnamese scientists described a new species of gecko from Laos, which the journal Herpetological Review reported as the 10,000th reptile species. Leer más.