Biodiversity of Monteverde, Costa Rica


William A. Haber

Electronic Field Guide Project, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Monteverde Flora Project, Missouri Botanical Garden

Plants - Flora

Natural forest covers about 300 square kilometers in the Monteverde region. My field assistants, colleagues, and I have collected about 20,000 plant specimens in this area over the past 25 years, leading to the identification of more than 3000 vascular plant species. Now we are producing species lists, keys, images, and taxon pages to give researchers, students, and other visitors the capability of identifying the plants. A sampling of these identification tools is currently available online.

Butterflies - Lepidoptera

About 750 species of butterflies, including skippers, have been recorded in the Monteverde area above 700 m in elevation. Several of these are still undescribed species and one species is a record for the country. Many of the species on the list are seasonal migrants from lowland habitats, which were recorded while migrating through the area, and are not known to breed in the area of the inventory.

Dragonflies and Damselflies - Odonata

Several years ago, I started an inventory of dragonflies and damselflies in the streams, rivers, and ponds of the Monteverde region. To date, I have recorded 138 species and all of the 14 families known from Costa Rica from the area of the Tilarán Mountain Range (Cordillera de Tilarán) above about 600 m in elevation. Several of these are species that have not been named or formally described. A checklist with images and an online electronic guide are linked here, along with a picture key to the families and short family descriptions.

Electronic Field Guide Project

The EFG project includes a team of biologists and software engineers based at UMass., Boston and Monteverde, Costa Rica who are developing software that biologists and others can use to create custom field guides for their taxa of interest. These guides can incorporate lists, keys, images, and databases in a highly flexible array of formats and presentations, depending upon the taxa and the creativity of the field guide author. For information on the project and how to become involved in using or testing the software, check the EFG homepage:

Text and images copyright 2004-2009 by William A. Haber,
Created: 4 March 2006. Updated: 19 June 2009.