Catalogue of Life (COL) | Lifewatch regional portal

You are here

Catalogue of Life (COL)


The Catalogue of Life is the gateway to an online database of the world's known species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms.

The Catalogue of Life is the most comprehensive and authoritative global index of species currently available. It consists of a single integrated species checklist and taxonomic hierarchy. The Catalogue holds essential information on the names, relationships and distributions of over 1.8 million species. This figure continues to rise as information is compiled from diverse sources around the world.


Link with LifeWatch Species Information Backbone:


The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) provides a number of its Global Species Databases (GSDs) to COL, through monthly automated exports. The WoRMS Data Management Team at VLIZ manages these exports, in agreement with the responsible WoRMS editors.

In 2013, WoRMS and COL intensified their collaboration: two members of the WoRMS data management team were invited to become a member of respectively the COL Global Team and the COL Editorial Board. The COL Global Team is an international group of taxonomic experts who advise and decide upon the scientific policy for the Catalogue of Life. The COL Global Team is made up of GSD custodians, and representatives of ITIS and Species2000. The COL Editorial Board is responsible for the overall taxonomic content of COL, and the assembly and publication of the COL Annual Checklist.

Catalogue of Life (COL) is part of the taxon match web service of the Belgian LifeWatch e-Lab, allowing your species list to be cross-checked with the taxonomic information available in COL.