Study of Spiders
Research in the Arachnology Department is concentrated on the medically important spiders in the genus Latrodectus (Theridiidae), the genera Cheiracanthium and Cheiramiona (Eutichurgidae) and the genera Loxosceles and Sicarius (Sicariidae) of the Afrotropical Region. Other research projects include studies on spider biodiversity and rare forest spiders of the genera Eriauchenius and Afrarchaea (Archeaidae), the distribution of Opiliones in southern Africa and the taxonomic revision of the South African Pseudoscorpionida.
SANSA (South African National Survey of Arachnida) projects:
(All photos contained in these pages have copyright and cannot be used without written consent)
Russian visitor to the spider collection
11 January 2017
Dr Galina Azarkina visited the Arachnology Department in November 2015 to study jumping spiders (Salticidae). She is the curator of the Arachnida Collection at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk.
Principal Museum Scientist
and Head of Department
Leon N. Lotz PhD firstname.lastname@example.org
Leon obtained a BSc Agriculture degree, majoring in Animal Physiology, Nature Conservation and Zoology from the University of Stellenbosch in 1979. He then completed Military Service, serving in the Nature Conservation Section of the Northern Transvaal Command. He started his career in conservation at the Cape Department of Nature Conservation, Hartswater (Northern Cape Area Head Office - now in Kimberley) where he was second in charge of the Northern Cape Area. Leon then moved to the Kaffrarian Museum (now Amathole Museum), King William's Town, as a Collection Manager. He moved to Bloemfontein in 1987 to work at the National Museum, first as Collection Manager, later progressing to Scientist and Head of the Arachnology Department. Here, he furthered his studies at the University of the Free State and obtained a BSc Hons as well as a Certificate in Introduction to self-management, job-planning, development and general management in 1989, an MSc in Zoology and Entomology in 1996 and a PhD in Entomology in 2014.
Leon is a member of the following professional societies and groups: The International Society of Arachnology (ISA), the African Arachnological Society (AfrAS), the American Arachnological Society, the Biosystematics Interest Group, the South African National Survey of Arachnids and the Inland Invertebrate Initiative.
Jan Andries Neethling MSc email@example.com
Jan registered for B.Sc Microbiology at the University of the Free State in 2006, obtaining the degree with distinction in 2009. In 2010 he registered for third year B.Sc Entomology, obtaining distinctions in all the registered subjects and was consequently accepted into the Honours program at the Zoology and Entomology department in 2011 where he specialised in Arachnid taxonomy, but also did courses in Forensic Entomology and Plant-Insect Interactions.
At the end of 2011 he obtained his Honours (cum laude) with his thesis: “Effect of moon phases on the activity patterns of trapdoor spiders, scorpions and solifugids at the Free State National Botanical Gardens”.
He recently (2015) obtained his Master of Science (cum laude) with his thesis: “Revision of the South African Geogarypidae (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones)”, which represents the first holistic taxonomic study of a South African pseudoscorpion family, taking both molecular and morphological characters into consideration.
He is currently busy with the taxonomic revision of the South African Pseudoscorpionida fauna.
Chief Research Assistant
Trudie Peyper firstname.lastname@example.org
Trudie Peyper is a National Museum Staff Member in the Arachnology Department
Trudie Peyper grew up in Bloemfontein. She completed a B Agric degree at the University of the Free State. She started to work at the Museum in 1984 and is currently a Chief Research Assistant in the Arachnology Department.
Leon. N. Lotz
Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805
6 species in southern Africa.
Cheiracanthium C.L. Koch, 1839
15 species in southern Africa plus 1 new species being described.
Cheiramiona Lotz &Dippenaar-Schoeman, 1999
22 species in southern Africa plus 16 new species being described.
Loxosceles Heineken & Lowe, 1832
7 species in southern Africa.
Sicarius Walckenaer, 1847
6 species in southern Africa.
Afrarchaea Heineken & Lowe, 1832
7 species in southern Africa.
Spiders of the Free State Province, South Africa.
At present there are 59 spider (Araneae) families of the Free State Province, South Africa.
Jan A. Neethling
Afrogarypus Beier, 1931
7 species in South Africa plus 2 new species being described.
Geogarypus Chamberlin, 1930
2 species in South Africa plus 6 new species being described.
Gymnobisium Beier, 1931
2 species in South Africa plus 4 new species being described.
False-scorpions of South Africa.
At present there are 17 false-scorpion (Pseudoscorpiones) families in South Africa.
Free State Spider Survey
Why are we conducting a survey?
Spiders are extremely important animals. They occur in vast numbers and are the primary predators of the equally common insects. Because they are so common, they are often encountered by people and we receive many enquiries requesting information about spiders. Many people needlessly fear spiders, as most are harmless to humans.
Despite their importance and abundance, not much is known about the spiders of the Free State. There are no truly comprehensive collections of spiders from this area, as most collectors concentrated on the eastern part of South Africa.
Spiders are often missed; they are overlooked scientifically and often despised or feared by the public. However, spiders play a critical role in the web of life we so often take for granted. More information about spiders is needed, especially those in our own backyards, if we are to ensure their future and the health of our environment.
How will the Free State Spider Survey work?
In order to conduct a large-scale survey of spiders, we need the help of the public. We request the public to collect spiders in their homes and gardens, fill out a simple data sheet about their collection and send or bring them to the National Museum. Our experts will identify the specimens, fill out a collecting record, and accession them in the collection. If requested, the identity of the spider will be sent to the collector. Spiders collected in the survey will be used to create a database about the distribution and abundance of the species. Results will be reported on the web site. Other arachnids, such as scorpions, may also be submitted.
Disclaimer: The Museum appreciates your assistance in this scientific project. If you have any concerns about participating, we suggest you do NOT participate. The Museum cannot be responsible for the treatment of bites or for any injury or illness resulting from the project.
Address where spider was collected:
Contact telephone number(s):
Do you want to be notified about the identity of your spider? Yes or no?
Time collected: AM / PM
Location: In house or outdoors?
Any other details you want us to know (e.g. under stones, on plants, in a web, etc.)
Email or send to:
Mr L.N. Lotz
PO Box 266
Tel: +27 51 447 9609
Opiliones (harvestmen) – under construction
Scorpiones (scorpions) – under construction
Solifugae (sun-spiders) – under construction
Pseudoscorpiones (false-scorpions) – under construction
Leon N. Lotz
Lotz, L.N. 2014.New species of Cheiracanthium (Araneae: Eutichuridae) from Madagascar and the Comoros Islands. Zootaxa 3857: 301-332.
Haddad, C.R., Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S., Foord, S.H., Lotz, L.N. & Lyle, R. 2013.The faunistic diversity of spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of the South African Grassland Biome, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, DOI:10.1080/0035919X.2013.773267: 1-26.
Dippenaar-Schoeman, A., Van den Berg, A., Lyle, R., Haddad, C., Foord, S. & Lotz, L., 2012,‘Die diversiteit van Suid-Afrikaanse spinnekoppe (Arachnida: Araneae): Dokumentering van ’n nasionale opname’, Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie 32(1), Art. #375, 7 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v32i1.375
Lotz, L.N. 2012.The family Sicariidae in the Afrotropical Region. Zootaxa 3522: 1-41.
Foord, S., Dippenaar-Schoeman, A., Haddad, C., Lotz, L.N. & Lyle, R. 2011.The faunistic diversity of spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of the Savanna. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa66(3): 170-201.
Lotz, L.N. 2011. The genus Cheiracanthium (Araneae: Miturgidae) in the Afrotropical Region. 3. Description of four new species. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 27: 21-36.
Lotz, L.N. 2011. Three new harvestmen species from southern Africa (Arachnida: Opiliones). Journal of Afrotropical Zoology 7: 3-8.
Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S., Haddad, C.R., Foord, S., Lyle, R., Lotz, L., Helberg, L., Mathebula, S., Van den Berg, A., Marais, P., Van den Berg, A.M., Van Niekerk, E. & Jocqué, R. 2010.First Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa (Arachnida: Araneae). South African National Survey of Arachnida Technical Report 2010 version 1, 1158pp.
Lotz, L.N. 2009.Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) in southern Africa - an annotated catalogue with notes on distribution. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 25(1): 1-46.
Lotz, L.N. 2007.The genus Cheiracanthium (Araneae: Miturgidae) in the Afrotropical Region. 2. Description of new species. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 23(5): 145-184.
Lotz, L.N. 2007.The genus Cheiracanthium (Araneae: Miturgidae) in the Afrotropical Region. 1. Review of known species. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 23(1): 1-76.
Lotz, L.N. 2006.Afrotropical Archaeidae: 3. The female of Eriauchenius cornutus and new species of Afrarchaea (Arachnida: Araneae) from South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 22(4): 113-127.
Lotz, L.N. 2005.A new species of Cheiramiona (Araneae: Miturgidae) from Namibia. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 21(2): 13-22.
Kok, O.B., Lotz, L.N. & Haddad, C.R. 2004.Diversity and Ecology of Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of the Dorsai Plateau, Northern Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Sciences 7(10): 1689-1694.
Lotz, L.N. 2003. Afrotropical Archaeidae: 2. New species of the genera Archaea and Afrarchaea(Arachnida: Araneae). Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 19(9): 221-240.
Lotz, L.N. 2002. The Opiliones (Arachnida) of the Free State Province, South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 18(8): 161-188.
Lotz, L.N. 2002.A revision of the Afrotropical genus Cheiramiona (Araneae: Miturgidae: Eutichurinae). Annales Musee Royal de l’Afrique Centrale (série Zoologie)290: 39-86.
Lotz, L.N. & Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S. 1999. Cheiramiona, a new Afrotropical spider genus (Araneae: Miturgidae: Eutichurinae). Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 15(2): 29-44.
Lotz, L.N. 1999. Distribution of the opilionid Polycoryphus asper Loman, 1902 in southern Africa. Newsletter of the British Arachnological Society 86: 13-14.
Lotz, L.N. 1998. The description of the male of Lactrodectus menavodi (Araneae: Theridiidae) from Madagascar with new records from the Comoros. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 14(3): 73-79.
Lotz, L.N. 1996. The female of Rastellus florisbad (Araneae: Ammoxenidae). Journal of African Zoology 110: 367-368.
Lotz, L.N. 1996. Afrotropical Archaeidae (Araneae): 1. New species of Afrarchaea with notes on Afrarchaea godfreyi (Hewitt, 1919). Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 12(5): 141-160.
Lotz, L.N. 1995/6. The genus Cheiracanthium (Araneae: Clubionidae) in southern Africa. M.Sc. Thesis, University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein.
Lotz, L.N. 1994. Revision of the genus Latrodectus (Araneae: Theridiidae) in Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 10(1): 1-60.
Lotz, L.N., Seaman, M.T. & Kok, D.J. 1991. Surface-active spiders (Araneae) of a site in semi-arid central South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 7(11): 529-540.
Jan A. Neethling
Neethling, J.A. & Haddad, C.R. 2013.Arboreal spider assemblages associated with four tree species in the Grassland Biome of central South Africa (Arachnida: Araneae). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 68(2): 123-131.
Haddad, C.R., Neethling, J.A. & Lyle, R. 2011.Spinotrachelas montanus sp. n., the first Afromontane representative in the genus (Araneae: Corinnidae). African Invertebrates 52(2): 345-352.
Leon N. Lotz
Lotz, L.N. 2012. Spinnekop bog-stories. Culna 67: 8-9.
Lotz, L.N. 2011. Spinnekop-legendes. Culna 66:16-17.
Lotz, L.N. 2010. Identifikasie en benaming van spinnekoppe. Culna 65: 28-29.
Lotz, L.N. 2010. Hogsback – a harvestman haven. The Spider Club News 26(3): 10.
Lotz, L.N. 2010. Opiliones (harvestman) hotspots in South Africa. SANSA News 13: 8.
Lotz, L.N. 2009. Spin-spin - waar het spinnekoppe leer spin? Culna 64: 15-16.
Lotz, L.N. 2008. Hou die booswigte buite: spinnekoppe se veiligheidshekke. Culna 63: 41.
Lotz, L.N. 2006. Bobbejane op agt bene. Culna 61: 22-23.
Lotz, L.N. 2005. Spiders of the Free State. Nouveau: Sept.:92-93.
Lotz, L.N. 2005. Spinnerakke – webbe by dosyne. Culna 60: 23-24.
Lotz, L.N. 2004. Vals-skerpioene. Culna 59: 34.
Lotz, L.N. 2003. Langnekspinnekoppe. Culna 58: 26.
Lotz, L.N. 2002. Spoegspinnekoppe. Culna 57: 5.
Lotz, L.N. 2000. Reënspinnekoppe. Culna 55: 17-18.
Lotz, L.N. 1999. Skerpione van die Vrystaat. Culna 54: 30.
Lotz, L.N. 1998. Grasperkwolwe. Culna 53: 24.
Avenant, N., Irish, J. & Lotz, L.N. 1998. Kogelbeengrot - 'n besondere natuurerfenis in die Noord-Kaap. Culna 53: 10.
Lotz, L.N. 1997. Button spiders and stone houses. Spider Club News 12(3): 8-9.
Lotz, L.N. 1997. Skerpioene van Bloemfontein. Culna 52: 14.
Lotz, L.N. 1996. Hooiwaens in die Vrystaat. Culna 51: 21.
Lotz, L.N. 1996. Tussengetyspinnekoppe. Culna 50: 11.
Lotz, L.N. 1995. Sandduikerspinnekoppe. Culna 49: 27.
Lotz, L.N. 1995. Witoog-kribellumspinnekoppe. Culna 48: 17.
Lotz, L.N. 1994. Tregterwebspinnekoppe. Culna 47: 28.
Lotz, L.N. 1994. The button spiders of southern Africa (Latrodectus: Araneae: Theridiidae). Spider Club News 9(3): 9-16.
Lotz, L.N. 1994. Die wanindruk van spinnekop-gevaar. Culna 46: 41-42.
Lotz, L.N. 1993. Spinnekop-sy. Culna 45: 17.
Lotz, L.N. 1993. Die ongewensde haarkapper. Culna 44: 9.
Lotz, L.N. 1992. Spinnekop parasiete. Culna 43: 14-15.
Lotz, L.N. 1991. Spinnekop verwarrings. Culna 41: 27.
Lotz, L.N. 1991. Spinnekoppe se oë. Culna 40: 12.
Lotz, L.N. 1990. Die spinnekop se spyskaart. Culna 39: 4-5.
Lotz, L.N. 1990. Die grondwonende spinnekoppe van die Florisbad-navorsingstasie. Culna 38: 23-24.
Lotz, L.N. 1988. Kleurverandering by spinnekoppe. Nasionale Museum Nuus 34: 3.
The Arachnology collection started as a subsection of the Entomology Department in 1982, but became a full department in 2003. The collection currently comprises ca. 52 000 specimens. These are mostly arachnids (excluding Acari), but other invertebrates are also included to a lesser extent (Myriapoda, Mollusca and Crustacea).
The specimens are almost all from the Republic of South Africa and have been collected from all over the country.
Conditions of loan
The acceptance of material on loan implies that the following conditions have been accepted: