TOOLS: A World of Vertebrates

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 677
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5735.677d

Whether you're mad about the muskox or keen on the kea, a New Zealand parrot, check out WildFinder from the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C. The new database lets users map the distributions of 30,000 species of terrestrial amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Searching for a species in WildFinder doesn't return a conventional range map but instead shows which of the world's 825 ecoregions the animal inhabits—areas with similar environments and species. For example, the muskox roams 11 ecoregions, including the northern Canadian shield taiga and the Beringia lowland tundra of Alaska. WildFinder's maps draw on information from field guides, online databases, scientific papers, and other sources. You can also scan the database geographically to retrieve a list of the vertebrates that dwell in a particular city or country. For a global view of species diversity, visit the Map Gallery, whose offerings include a chart of mammal species numbers.

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