The size and composition of the hymenopteran fauna of Costa Rica

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An intensive survey of the hymenopteran fauna of Costa Rica provides an opportunity to explore the size and composition of a species-rich insect order in a large tropical region. A working estimate of the richness of the fauna is 20,000 species. This is consistent with some published estimates of the numbers of species of Hymenoptera worldwide, but at odds with suggestions that all insect species number several tens of millions. Sixty-one families of Hymenoptera have been collected in Costa Rica, and the numbers of species per unit area is more than twice that of most of the other regions for which data are available. The Costa Rican fauna has higher proportions of egg parasitoids and of eusocial species, and a lower proportion of primary phytophages than that of the British Isles.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, U.K. 2: Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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