About 70–80% of Australians fauna remains undescribed and many historically described species are poorly documented. It is therefore impossible to identify the bulk of species, particularly invertebrates. Their huge potential in ecological and environmental studies remains untapped.
The Fauna Portal is filling this void by providing a platform for diagnostic images of poorly known or undescribed species. To provide taxonomic stability, It is based on principals that underpin taxonomic codes, namely the designation of a reference specimen ("FP-type") and a diagnosis against described species or others that are on the Fauna Portal.
The nomenclature for undescribed species is simple: a number for both undescribed genera (i.e. "Genus 345") and species (i.e. "FP-10955") governed by the underlying Fauna Portal database.
All records listed on the Fauna Portal require lodgement of specimens in public collections. The current pilot version of the Fauna Portal is largely based on the invertebrate collection of the Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University.
The Fauna Portal does not want to replace established taxonomic practices based on Linnean taxonomy. It is designed as a stop-gap for rapid documentaion of species diversity until the species listed are described scientifically.
The Fauna Portal is 'project-based' and projects can public or for internal purposes (i.e. a specific ecological survey). The pilot version has three projects, "All Fauna Portal Species" , "Barrow Island" and "Troglofauna of Western Australia".