Arthropod diversity in a tropical forest

Yves Basset, Lukas Cizek, Philippe Cuénoud, Raphael K Didham, François Guilhaumon, Olivier Missa, Vojtech Novotny, Frode Ødegaard, Tomas Roslin, Jürgen Schmidl, Alexey K Tishechkin, Neville N Winchester, David W Roubik, Henri-Pierre Aberlenc, Johannes Bail, Héctor Barrios, Jon R Bridle, Gabriela Castaño-Meneses, Bruno Corbara, Gianfranco CurlettiWesley Duarte da Rocha, Domir De Bakker, Jacques H C Delabie, Alain Dejean, Laura L Fagan, Andreas Floren, Roger L Kitching, Enrique Medianero, Scott E Miller, Evandro Gama de Oliveira, Jérôme Orivel, Marc Pollet, Mathieu Rapp, Sérvio P Ribeiro, Yves Roisin, Jesper B Schmidt, Line Sørensen, Maurice Leponce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

293 Citations (Scopus)


Most eukaryotic organisms are arthropods. Yet, their diversity in rich terrestrial ecosystems is still unknown. Here we produce tangible estimates of the total species richness of arthropods in a tropical rainforest. Using a comprehensive range of structured protocols, we sampled the phylogenetic breadth of arthropod taxa from the soil to the forest canopy in the San Lorenzo forest, Panama. We collected 6144 arthropod species from 0.48 hectare and extrapolated total species richness to larger areas on the basis of competing models. The whole 6000-hectare forest reserve most likely sustains 25,000 arthropod species. Notably, just 1 hectare of rainforest yields >60% of the arthropod biodiversity held in the wider landscape. Models based on plant diversity fitted the accumulated species richness of both herbivore and nonherbivore taxa exceptionally well. This lends credence to global estimates of arthropod biodiversity developed from plant models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-4
Number of pages4
Issue number6113
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2012


  • Animals
  • Arthropods
  • Biodiversity
  • Herbivory
  • Rain
  • Trees
  • Tropical Climate


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