Terrestrial Invertebrates

Terrestrial Invertebrates

Study of Insects | Mites | Spiders

Although there were entomology collections, especially butterflies, that predate the inception of the Department, the Entomology Department was formally established on 1 May 1975, when Gunderico Wladimiro Santos Ferreira (1921–1999), who had studied at the University of Coimbra, Portugal and was formerly employed at the University of Lourenço Marcques, Moçambique, took up the position of entomologist. Three months later, during April, he was joined by his wife, Maria Corinta Ferreira (née Melo) (1922–?2003), who had held the position of Director of the Institute for Scientific Research of Moçambique (employed 1959–1974) and Professional officer at Museu Dr Álvaro de Castro, Lourenço Marques (employed 1948–1959), prior to her appointment at the National Museum. Both received leave of absence from Bloemfontein to attend pension-related court cases in Mozambique in 1979 and never returned to the Museum… READ MORE

AcarologyThe Acarology Department (study of mites) came into existence as an independent department at the National Museum in 1969. Prof. R. van Pletzen, former Head of Zoology at the University of the Free State, started oribatid mite taxonomy research at the university. One of his students, Dr C.M. Engelbrecht, took up a post at the National Museum in 1969 and continued the research at the Museum. The research focus at the University changed and the collection of specimens and literature was donated to the Museum. Dr Engelbrecht collected widely throughout South Africa, augmenting the collection fourfold. Research is mainly focussed on taxonomy of Oribatida…. READ MORE

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… READ MORE

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