Insects of French Guiana: a baseline for diversity and taxonomic effort

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:Brûlé, S, Touroult, J
Keywords:Arthropods, biodiversity, endemism, Guiana Shield, Linnean shortfall, neotropics, Regional checklist, species database, taxonomic diversity, taxonomic effort

This paper analyzes the first checklist of insects from French Guiana. Compiled by a group of 70 experts based on published records, it comprises about 15 100 valid species names belonging to 20 orders and 322 families. Currently, about 17% of the species are only known from French Guiana or from the Guiana Shield region. Since Linné, the average rate of description has been 59 species per year, which has been increasing in the last 10 years. Based on a sample of recent taxonomic and faunistic papers covering 736 new species for French Guiana, 46% of the species came from new country records, the rest from new species descriptions. The rate of faunistic progress (new species or new records) is about 180 species per year over the last five years. Sixty-five percent of these faunal records came from non-professional entomologists and 74% of the holotypes of new species were collected by amateur entomologists. A rough extrapolation, using two different methods, provides a likely estimate of around 100 000 species, the most conservative estimate being 67 000 species and the highest 184 000. Therefore, an estimated 80% of the species remain to be recorded and, in a best-case scenario, at least 270 years would be needed to complete the biotic inventory, at the current rate of species descriptions and distribution records. Although no order is exhaustively inventoried, the most in need of study are Diptera, Hymenoptera, Hemiptera and Trichoptera; and in absolute numbers, Coleoptera. These results and the fundamental role of non-professional entomologists in collecting and describing new species are discussed.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith