03 March, 2009

Spiders and Scorpions of the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, South Africa

A survey of the spiders and Scorpions of the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, South Africa has recently been published by Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman and coworkers. The article also includes some interesting notes on the ecology of the scorpions collected in the national park.


Among other activities, the South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA) aims to survey the biodiversity of arachnids in protected areas of South Africa. The study presented here documents the diversity of spiders and scorpions collected from the Nylsvley Nature Reserve (NNR), South Africa over a 30-year period. The spider fauna of NNR contains 175 species (7.5% of the total recorded in South Africa), in 131 genera and 37 families. Thomisidae is the most diverse spider family in the reserve, with 33 species (18.9% of the total), followed by Salticidae, with 20 species (11.4%), and Araneidae, with 18 species (10.3%). The majority of species (125) are wandering spiders (71.4%), whereas 50 species (28.6%) build webs. Wandering ground-dwelling spiders comprise 52 species, whereas 73 wandering species have been collected from the vegetation. A total of 158 species are new records for the reserve and Oxyopes tuberculatus Lessert, 1915 is newly recorded for South Africa. Six spider species may be new to science. The scorpion fauna of NNR comprises five species (5% of the total recorded in South Africa) in three genera and two families. Buthidae are more diverse in the reserve, with four species and two genera represented. The scorpion fauna of the reserve includes two fossorial and three epigeic species, representing five ecomorphotypes: semi-psammophilous, pelophilous, lithophilous, corticolous and lapidicolous. Five additional scorpion species may be recorded if the reserve is sampled more intensively using appropriate techniques.

Dippenaar AS, van der Berg A, Prendini L. Spiders and scorpions (Arachnida: Araneae, Scorpiones) of the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, South Africa. Koedoe. 2009;51(1):1-9. [Free fulltext]

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