Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 45–56 | Cite as

Echinoderm (Echinodermata) diversity in the Pacific coast of Central America

  • Juan José Alvarado
  • Francisco A. Solís-Marín
  • Cynthia G. Ahearn
Original Paper


We present a systematic list of the echinoderms of Central America Pacific coast and offshore island, based on specimens of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., the Invertebrate Zoology and Geology collections of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, the Museo de Zoología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José and published accounts. A total of 287 echinoderm species are recorded, distributed in 162 genera, 73 families and 28 orders. Ophiuroidea (85) and Holothuroidea (68) are the most diverse classes, while Panama (253 species) and Costa Rica (107 species) have the highest species richness. Honduras and Guatemala show the highest species similarity, also being less rich. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador y Nicaragua are represented by the most common nearshore species. Due to their coastal heterogeneity, Costa Rica and Panama are the richest places, with Panama also being the place where more research has been done. The current composition of echinoderms is the result of the sampling effort made in each country, recent political history and the coastal heterogeneity.


Eastern Tropical Pacific Similarity Richness Taxonomic distinctness Taxonomic list 



We thank those who facilitated our literature search or access to museum collections. We also thank R. Vargas and M. Springer from the Museo de Zoología, Universidad de Costa Rica, A. Durán González from the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. FASM thanks PAPIIT-UNAM (IN 226308). J.J.A. thanks CONICYT, MCIT and CONACYT. The manuscript was enriched by comments from J. Cortés, H. Reyes-Bonilla and two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan José Alvarado
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco A. Solís-Marín
    • 3
  • Cynthia G. Ahearn
    • 4
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR)Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)San PedroCosta Rica
  2. 2.Posgrado en Ciencias Marinas y CosterasUniversidad de Baja California SurLa PazMéxico
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Sistemática y Ecología de Equinodermos, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (ICML)Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)MéxicoMéxico
  4. 4.Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

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