Progress and prospects in taxonomy
Based on percentages of undescribed species collected during intensive recent sampling campaigns in South America, tropical Africa, and the Caribbean, the current global total number of pholcid species is estimated to range from about 4,000 to 5,000. With the current rate of descriptions at about 570 pholcid species per decade, this suggests that a global inventory of the family could be completed within a few decades. However, I argue that a complete (or near-complete) inventory is neither realistic nor necessary and that knowing the majority of species of a particular group will answer most questions on that taxon’s biology while being a manageable task. At current rates of description, the majority of pholcid species might be known within 10-20 years.