The Arthropods unit at INBio is dedicated to the generation of information on insects and arachnids (classes Insecta and Arachnida) of Costa Rica, whose diversity is estimated at some 365,000 different species.

Its purpose is to determine their identity, geographic and temporal distribution, natural history, conservation status and potential use in order to generate information for decision-making in conservation and environmental policy, to develop productive activities or products that contribute to improving quality of life, the sustainable development of Costa Rica and the conservation of the natural environment and its components.

Its work forms part of the National Biodiversity Inventory carried out by INBio in close collaboration with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), though an agreement with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE), and with the extremely valuable support of scholars, experts and institutions engaged in biodiversity studies, as well as the cooperative agencies, foundations and international organizations that contribute resources to accomplish this enormous task.

Sampling is carried out by a team of “parataxonomists”, specialized in the collection, preparation and preliminary identification of specimens and in natural history information. The work is carried out in forests and different ecosystems located mainly in the country’s protected wild lands. Work continues in the laboratory with the classification, ordering, entering of information into databases, description of species and preparation of illustrations, publications, etc. This process is carried out by a team of technicians and curators, in partnership with collaborating specialists and volunteers.

An immediate result of this work has been the development of a collection of around three million prepared specimens, each one bearing a bar code that helps to link information such as identification, images, natural history observations, preparations, references, etc., to each particular specimen through an information system or group of databases. This valuable resource facilitates the analysis of information for various uses such as management and planning of wild lands, genetic studies, theses, etc.

This is accompanied by scientific and other outreach publications, field guides, species pages or Basic Information Units (BIUs), keys for identification, images, identification and consulting services, training, attending to inquiries, etc.

The information generated is for the public and access is open and free of charge for educational purposes, personal development and other non-commercial uses.


To contact the Artrhopods unit:

Manuel Zumbado
Phone: (506) 2507-8222

Photo: Manuel A. Zumbado, INBio

Collection trap
Foto: Manuel A. Zumbado, INBio

Photo: Manuel Zumbado, INBio

Photo: Manuel A. Zumbado, INBio


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