Known and unknown terrestrial arthropod fauna of La Réunion Island, Indian Ocean

  • Vincent LegrosEmail author
  • Jacques Rochat
  • Bernard Reynaud
  • Dominique Strasberg


A major part of La Réunion Island has been included on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its unique landscapes and its outstanding biodiversity. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the arthropod diversity. For this reason, an up-to-date census of Réunion’s terrestrial arthropods was undertaken. Of the 3369 species that are reported from Réunion, 31% are endemic to the island and 40% are endemic to the Mascarenes. A diversity ratio between the numbers of described and expected species in the world was established and then applied to the numbers of reported species in Réunion to estimate the total expected numbers of species on the island. The results predict that between 6751 and 10,812 species of terrestrial arthropods are present in Réunion and that 62% of species remain to be discovered. However, some groups appear underrepresented as expected for Darwinian islands that should be originally composed by species with abilities to colonize remote places. Considering the global biodiversity decline and the numerous threats on Réunion’s natural habitats, this article emphasizes the crucial need for conservation of terrestrial arthropods and strongly encourages an increase in the list of protected arthropods.


Biodiversity Diversity ratio Endemism rate Estimation Oceanic Island Threat 



We are very grateful to Olivier Flores, Claudine Ah-Peng and Nicholas Wilding for their proofreading and corrections to the manuscript. Our gratitude is extended to all the scientifics and amateurs that have contributed to the knowledge of Réunion terrestrial arthropods by spending time on the field, collecting specimens, identifying species, compiling data, writing technical reports and papers or sharing their works. This work is a part of the “DIVINES” project which is co-financed by the European Union and the Réunion Region: POE FEDER 2014-2020 – Action 1.02 – Soutien à l’observation et à la connaissance de la biodiversité et des milieux (N°Synergie: RE 0002626). The authors also greatly acknowledge the Plant Protetction Platefrom (C3P, IBISA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have not conflict of interests.

Informed consent

As no human subjects were involved in this work, no informed consent is required.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

No humans or live animals were involved in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Legros
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jacques Rochat
    • 1
  • Bernard Reynaud
    • 1
  • Dominique Strasberg
    • 2
  1. 1.UMR PVBMT, University of La Réunion, Pôle de Protection des PlantesSaint-PierreFrance
  2. 2.UMR PVBMT, University of La RéunionSainte-ClotildeFrance

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