Background: Many medicinal plant species from the Araripe Basin are widely known and used in folk medicine and for commercial manufacturing of phytotherapeutic products. Few ethnobotanical and pharmacological studies have been undertaken in this region, however, in spite of the great cultural and biological diversity found there. Materials and Methods : Extracts of 11 plant species collected from Cearα state, Brazil, were subjected to the brine shrimp lethality test in order to detect potential sources of novel cytotoxic, antitumor compounds. The larvicidal activity, based on the percentage of larval mortality, was evaluated after 24 h exposure to the treatments. Results: All species tested showed good larvicidal activity as compared to a reference compound and literature data. The extract from Vanillosmopsis arborea was the most active with an LC 50 of 3.9 μg/ml. Best results were shown by Lantana montevidensis against Pseudomonas aeruginosa [minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) 8μg/ml] and Escherichia coli (MIC 32 μg/ml), Zanthoxylum rhoifolium against E. coli (MIC, 256 μg/ml) and Staphylococcus aureus (MIC 64 μg/ml) and Croton zenhtneri against S. aureus (MIC 64 μg/ml). Conclusion: Chemical tests indicated that a wide variety of natural product classes was present in those extracts that showed significant activities in the bioassays.