Abstract

Introduction: The value of scientific collections lies in the fact that the records are directly linked to real physical specimens allowing us to learn the advances in taxonomy, biogeography and evolutionary history of the species. In El Salvador, the scientific collections are represented mostly by specimens of terrestrial vertebrates and, to a lesser proportion, marine invertebrates, specifically for the group of echinoderms their representation is scarce. Objective: To enlist the scientific collections in which echinoderm specimens of El Salvador are deposited, to know about the efforts made to collect these specimens and evaluate the contribution of the collections to the knowledge of the taxon in the country. Methods: Review of open databases of 18 foreign and national collections; collecting biological information, number of specimens, site, year of collection and collector. Results: 536 specimens were found in 192 records of echinoderms deposited in six scientific collections, national and foreign, classified into 40 species, one of them new for El Salvador: Ophionereis perplexa. The National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) and the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the University of El Salvador have the largest number of specimens (Smithsonian has the oldest specimens). Conclusions: The representation of specimens in national and foreign scientific collections is acceptable, with 67 % of the total reported for El Salvador. We recommend continuation of work in shallow-waters and start of deep-water study.

Keywords: collects; biodiversity; Ophionereis perplexa; records; La Union.