How Many Types of Arthropods Are There?


Quick Answer

There are about a million known species of arthropods as of 2015. Estimates of the total number of arthropod species, including undiscovered ones, range from as low as 5 million to as high as 30 million.

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Full Answer

Arthropods are animals with exoskeletons made of chitin and jointed legs, and they include familiar creatures such as spiders, lobsters and butterflies. They are the most diverse and numerous group of animals on Earth, making up 80 percent of all known species. Of these, beetle species make up the majority: 40 to 50 percent of all known insects are beetles.

Estimating the true total number of arthropods is difficult because most species are very small, many live in habitats that are difficult to access, and many of the species that are known are not well studied.

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