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Foto: Frederico Falcão Salles

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Catálogo Taxonômico da Fauna do Brasil totals 91,500 insect species

Started in April 2015, the Catálogo Taxonômico da Fauna do Brasil (Taxonomic Catalog of the Fauna of Brazil) has just completed eight years with the merit of leaving behind estimates and presenting concrete data: our country today has cataloged 126,990 animal species, of which 91,500 species of insects.

"This means that 72% of the animals that occur in Brazil are insects, the richest group of organisms. The catalog is publicly accessible and a national pride. For the first time we can say with certainty how many species occur in the country. This is qualified information that can be used by students, teachers, anyone," says José Albertino Rafael, researcher from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), coordinator of the insect group in the project.

The list is available online and is constantly being updated as species are described or classifications are changed. "We are at a very advanced stage when digitalizing the data on species names and geographical records in the country. But it is still necessary to advance with complementary information regarding deposits in collections, biomes, label data, relationship with hosts," says José Albertino. According to him, the moment is promising, with public financial resources allocated to system updates and payment of a staff to digitize the data.

The project relies on the collaboration of about 500 entomologists, including most of the SBE board of directors. In all, there are 690 specialists in Brazilian fauna. "The Catalog allows a historical correction regarding the quantity of animal species that occur in Brazil, previously reported to be between 15 and 20%. In reality, the quota of animals that occur in Brazil is 8%. Still, we are the country with the greatest diversity in the world."

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