ABSTRACT

— The taxonomy and biogeography of insects are poorly known for most islands of the West Indies with the exception of Cuba (8,316 species) and Puerto Rico (5,066 species). It is estimated that if all insects on Cuba could be documented that the total would be close to 10,000 species. Some groups are better known than others, and it is only in these well-known groups that real levels of endemism can be calculated. In some groups endemism is very high, such as stick insects (92.8%), mutillids (90%), Cercopoidea (82%), and Trichoptera (81%). In other groups it is surprisingly low, such as dryinids (0%), agromizids (3.8%), and mosquitoes (5.9%). Large well-known groups tend to have levels of endemism between 40 and 60%, for example, butterflies (39.9%), ants (43.6%), and bees (47.3%). Cockroaches have an endemism level of 63.5%. These data do not provide complete insight into the patterns of dispersal of insects into Cuba or between major mountain ranges or offshore archipelagos. The very different levels of endemism between the various groups of insects suggest that insects colonized Cuba in a variety of ways. Additional studies on the distribution and systematics of Cuban insects are important to help us more accurately understand biogeographical patterns of Cuban insects and how the insect fauna of Cuba relates to other islands in the Greater Antilles.