Abstract Fauna Europaea is Europe's main zoological taxonomic index, making the scientific names and distributions of all living, currently known, multicellular, European land and freshwater animals species integrally available in one authoritative database. Fauna Europaea covers about 260,000 taxon names, including 145,000 accepted (sub)species, assembled by a large network of (>400) leading specialists, using advanced electronic tools for data collations with data quality assured through sophisticated validation routines. Fauna Europaea started in 2000 as an EC funded FP5 project and provides a unique taxonomic reference for many user-groups such as scientists, governments, industries, nature conservation communities and educational programs. Fauna Europaea was formally accepted as an INSPIRE standard for Europe, as part of the European Taxonomic Backbone established in PESI. Fauna Europaea provides a public web portal at faunaeur.org with links to other key biodiversity services, is installed as a taxonomic backbone in wide range of biodiversity services and actively contributes to biodiversity informatics innovations in various initiatives and EC programs.