Introduction to the Catalog

In the fall of 1990, a Catalog of the Genera of Recent Fishes was published (Eschmeyer 1990). With continued funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the database for species of fishes was completed. At the same time, the genera database was updated with new information and with corrections to the 1990 edition. The present work is produced from these databases. Partial versions of the databases are available on the Internet at

About 200 new species per year

The databases contain over 10,300 genera and subgenera and approximately 53,500 records for species and subspecies. About 50,000 names are available for use at the species/subspecies level. We estimate that the number of valid species of fishes is about 25,000. We show valid species at 23,250, assuming that every species described since 1990 is valid; but this figure does not include status for a number of species described in the 1950s through the 1980s for which we lack a status reference. New species of recent fishes continue to be described at about 200 a year, and the number of valid species could reach 30,000 or 35,000 as poorly sampled geographic areas are studied and new equipment becomes available, such as wider use of submersibles.

William N. Eschmeyer