We evaluated the completeness and historical trends of the taxonomic knowledge of the myrmecophilous ground beetle tribe Paussini (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Paussinae). Species accumulation curves were modelled using a logistic function. Similar analyses were conducted for genera and subgenera. Although not all biogeographical regions have been equally explored, accumulation curves reached a plateau in all cases. Our models predict that about 96% of the world fauna has been already described. However, the asymptotes calculated for the Australian and Oriental species should be interpreted as false plateaus because of the lack of recent research. Similarly, patterns of genera accumulation indicate that a plateau has been reached. As a result of continued debate on the use and validity of Paussini subgenera, the accumulation curves of subgenera showed stepped patterns, with no evidence of plateaus. Thus, although relatively few species are expected to be described in the future, the species accumulation curves indicate that the taxonomic inventory is not yet complete. Differences in accumulation patterns among biogeographical regions can be used to highlight the areas where more species are expected, and hence where taxonomical efforts should be concentrated. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 105, 330–339.