The knowledge of taxonomy, distribution and ecology is inadequate for many large groups of insects and Ascomycota fungi, as well as for liverworts, and algae (especially Ochrophyta, Bacillariophyta, and Chlorophyta). There are also large knowledge gaps for most of the groups in the kingdoms of Alveolata, Amoebozoa and Protozoa.

The knowedge of taxonomy, distribution and ecology is considered to be particularly low (Category 0 – 2) for close to 50 assessed species groups. It is also thought that there are many undiscovered species, in Norway, in the majority of these groups.

Knowledge gaps for several groups of animals

For arthropods the knowledge of taxonomy, distribution and ecology is poor among several species-rich groups, such as, for example, mites (Acari) and ants, bees and wasps (Apocrita). The knowledge of true flies (Diptera) is also generally poor, especially with regard to distribution and ecology.

We have an extremely poor level of knowledge for several lesser groups in the animal kingdom. Tanaidacea (crustaceans), flukes (Trematoda), ribbon worms (Nemertea), myxozoans (Myxozoa), thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala) and tardigrades/water bears (Tardigrada) are all poorly known. There are 136 known species of tardigrades in Norway but we believe that there are many more. These small, microscopic animals live among moss and lichen, in soil, and sediments in fresh water and saline environments.

For some species groups, the level of knowledge is acceptable or good for taxonomy, but deficient, very poor or poor for the distribution and ecology parameters. This applies, for example, to some groups of beetles (Cucujoidea and Staphylinoidea), for freshwater shrimps (Amphipoda), moss animals (Ectoprocta), hairybacks (Gastrotricha) and for tapeworms (Cestoda). For the 468 species of aphids, whiteflies and scale insects (Sternorrhyncha) the knowledge of distribution is assessed as being particularly poor, while the knowledge of taxonomy and ecology is good or acceptable.

The two large phyla of nematodes (Nematoda) and flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have not been assessed at a superior classification level but both groups are generally considered to be very poorly known.

Need for more knowledge about fungi

For fungi, the knowledge of several species groups of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota is considered to be poor (Category 2). Lecanoromycetes makes up the largest species group (1657 species) with a generally low level of knowledge of taxonomy, distribution and ecology. The class mainly comprises species that form lichen in symbiosis with green algae or cyanobacteria

Other species rich groups include; Dothideomycetes with 620 described species, Eurotiomycetes with 277 described species; and Entolomataceae with 203 described species. The knowledge of taxonomy, distribution and ecology is assessed as poor or very poor for all these groups. The Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative (Artsprosjektet), an ongoing survey project (2015 – 2017) supported by the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre, is expected to provide considerable new knowledge about Entoloma, a genus within Entolomataceae. This is one of many fungi genera with a difficult species complex and significant taxonomic challenges.

The knowledge of several less species-rich groups, for example Tremellomycetes and Auriculariales is also inadequate.

Poorly known groups of vascular plants, mosses and algae

Knowledge of taxonomy, distribution and ecology is generally poor for three phyla in the plant kingdom – liverworts (296 known species), green algae (Chlorophyta, 504 species) and Streptophyta (262 species).

Of the nine phyla in kingdom Chromista, knowledge about taxonomy, distribution and ecology is considered to be extremely low (Category 0 – 2) for five phyla. Of these, Bacillariophyta (405 species) and Ochrophyta (408 species) make up the largest groups. The other three phyla are Haptophyta (120 species), Oomycota (117 species) and Cryptophyta (55 species).

Species in the Alveolata, Amoebozoa and Protozoa kingdoms are poorly surveyed

Within the Alveolata and Amoebozoa kingdoms only the largest species groups are assessed: class Dinophycea (352 known species) and class Myxomycetes (268 known species). The knowledge status is poor for both the groups and generally all groups in these kingdoms are poorly surveyed. The knowledge status is also considered to be poor for the only assessed phylum, Euglenozoa (66 known species), in the Protozoa kingdom.

For a complete overview of species groups with a low level of knowledge see Table 4 in the Knowledge Report.

Midd (Acari) are a subclass of arachnids. We know of more than 1000 species in Norway but there are probably around 2000 species. One of the known species is Trombidium holosericeum. Mites can be found in many different habitats: in soil, water, and many are parasites on plants and animals.

Tardigrades/water bears are a single phylum (Tardigrada) in the animal kingdom. There are 136 described species of tardigrades but there are probably around 250 species in Norway. The knowledge status is assessed as being poor both with respect to taxonomy, distribution and ecology.

Lecanora intumescens belongs to the group of fungi that live in symbiosis with green algae or cyanobacteria and form lichen. The species belongs to a genus with many difficult species complexes.