Encyclopedia of Life

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About the Encyclopediea of Life

Encyclopedia of life.png

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is exactly what it sounds like -- a collection of global knowledge about all the species of life on Earth. Their data is contributed by a large network of museums across the world, including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. It crossed the 1 million species mark around May 2012.

Their stated mission is to: increase awareness and understanding of living nature through an Encyclopedia of Life that gathers, generates, and shares knowledge in an open, freely accessible and trusted digital resource.

The website has a link to download data after a user account has been created. There is an interface for searching via relevant, quantifiable search terms, including "age at maturity", "age at eye maturity", "basal metabolic rate", and many, many more. Data includes distribution, physical descriptions, ecology, life history and behavior, physiology and cell biology, maps, literature, and more.

Access the Data

The main website


The specific page to access data

First open an account. You will then be able to search for and download data via a link under your account page.

Contents of the Data

Detailed information on the various species on the planet, including:

  • Animals
  • Mammals
  • Birds
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fishes
  • Invertebrates
  • Crustaceans
  • Mollusks
  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Worms
  • Plants
  • Flowering Plants
  • Trees
  • Fungi
  • Mushrooms
  • Molds
  • Bacteria
  • Protists
  • Archaea
  • Viruses

You can then access more specific data including:

  • Distribution
  • Physical Description
  • Ecology
  • Life History and Behavior
  • Physiology and Cell Biology
  • Conservation
  • Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
  • Glossary