Wikispecies is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation and was launched on September 5, 2004. Details of how the project came about can be found in the FAQ. It is multilingual and has no language variants, much like Commons.
Wikispecies is intended to be a free taxonomic reference and directory, for both the scientist and the average reader. It exists as a database aggregating the classifications and genetic family tree of all species of life, from all six kingdoms. However, its content on life differs from the articles on Wikipedia in that actual discussion is omitted in Wikispecies and is instead strictly replaced by the taxonomic roots of the species at hand. As of January 2017, there are over 500,000 species articles available at Wikispecies.
The need for a project such as Wikispecies is evidenced by the lack of a formal center for taxonomic classification; a major problem for biology in the past and today has been the disorderly nature of man's species classification pool. Having had no proper centrality for classification, problems have arisen in the multiple classification of the same species, twice, three times or even more. The success of Wikipedia in the maintaining and harbouring of vast amounts of knowledge has demonstrated that an online aggregator is truly the best tool for the kind of species directory that the biological community so needs.