Natural History Museum Of Zimbabwe

Arachnology in Zimbabwe

Arachnology – The scientific study of spiders and related animals such as scorpions collectively called arachnids. The word arachnology derives from Greek “arachnē” – spider.

Arachnology

The Department of Arachnology was established in 1983 although some of the collection dates before that time. The collection is primarily Zimbabwean in scope with specimens collected from across the country. It is the largest and most comprehensive Arachnid collection in the country housing over 20,000 specimen lots.

The alcohol based collection is fully accessioned and partially computerised. The collection includes spiders, scorpions, solifugids, amblypygids, centipedes and millipedes, with a small collection of opilionids, mites, pseudoscorpions, and a tick reference collection.

As Arachnids, especially spiders are important predators and ecological indictors it is important that information is available in our galleries for the public. At present very few Arachnids are on display and fund raising projects are underway to add to these.

The Department assists the public and other researchers with the identification of specimens and on occasions gives lectures and public talks on arachnids. Periodic expeditions are planned and carried out to collect material for the national collection and for our special aspects of research.

Current and Future Research Areas

Dr Moira Fitzpatrick
Dr Moira Fitzpatrick

Research in the department has concentrated on the natural history and biogeography of the scorpions and spiders with many new species being described by museum staff and authorities in other institutions elsewhere in Africa and overseas.

There are a large number of types and paratypes in the collections, including a numbers of Beier’s Pseudoscorpion Types. As scorpions are medically important the various genera occurring in Zimbabwe have recently been revised utilizing material in the collection.

Research on the spider family Gnaphosidae is on-going as well as a long term arachnid monitoring program in the Matobo Hills.

Important References available from the Natural History Museum

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258 reviews on
David Reason
David Reason
26/01/2021
This is a fabulous treasure for Zimbabwe with around 7 separate galleries of very well presented exhibits such as geology, entomology, herpetology, African mammals, colonial history, local African tribes, astronomy, humankind and mycology (fungi). It also houses hundreds of thousands of specimens in around 10 Collections, including arachnids, Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), birds, snakes, plants and fungi - these Collections can be seen but by appointment only. The museum staff are pleasant and knowledgeable. There is an onsite café to pick up a snack or two and a public library of really interesting natural history books. There is also good info on the two World Heritage sites managed by the museum, these being the Matobo World View site and the Khami Ruins which are also magical places to go and visit!
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Angel Bert
Angel Bert
05/12/2020
It was lovely experience
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Fritz Madida
Fritz Madida
03/12/2020
Most fascinating collection of historical artefacrs
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CLIVE SIBANDA J
CLIVE SIBANDA J
26/11/2020
Thank you for the important information
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Thabo Pricel
Thabo Pricel
22/11/2020
Amaze balls
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Nkosinathi Mdudo
Nkosinathi Mdudo
07/11/2020
Such an amazing experience
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