Growth of the European taxonomic inventory.

Cumulative number of valid species of European terrestrial and freshwater multicellular species since Linnaeus. A: All species. B: Birds, a virtually completely inventoried compartment of European biodiversity. C: Coleoptera, where the number of valid species has steadily increased and shows no sign of levelling. D: Acari, which remained neglected for two centuries, and are now exhibiting a high discovery rate. E: Platyhelminthes, where the impression of a saturated inventory could be due to a current lack of taxonomic workforce. F: Neuropterida orders, for which the rate of description is erratic and reflects bursts of activity by a handful of taxonomists.