ZooKeys 31: 119-132, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.31.139
Increasing knowledge of the entomological fauna of the United Arab Emirates and the role of private collections
Brigitte Howarth, Michael Gillett
Abstract Conservation of larger terrestrial organisms is easier in comparison with arthropods because those groups are more visible, are generally better known and their requirements more likely to have been described and documented. Arthropods are often very small, e.g. the average size of a beetle is 4 mm, and this means that much arthropod biodiversity has thus far not been described. Many arthropod species are of ecological importance and may be regarded as keystone species in their environment without which ecosystems would collapse. This has widely been recognized and much research is under way. Nowadays there is an urgency for arthropod biodiversity research because habitats are either being degraded, fragmented or destroyed before a baseline of the arthropod fauna has been recorded and their ecological roles have been understood. Private collections have a role in recording baseline data and may be able to provide important information in identifying indicator species, particularly where land use has changed since the date of collection. Using data from the joint Al Ain and Abu Dhabi Emirates Natural History Group private collection, this paper will illustrate how data collected over more than 20 years can assist with arthropod biodiversity research and conservation.