Original Research

The diversity of South African spiders (Arachnida: Araneae: Documenting a National Survey).

Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, Almie van den Berg, Robin Lyle, Charles Haddad, Stefan Foord, Leon Lotz
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 32, No 1 | a375 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v32i1.375 | © 2013 Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, Almie van den Berg, Robin Lyle, Charles Haddad, Stefan Foord, Leon Lotz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 July 2012 | Published: 19 April 2013

About the author(s)

Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Almie van den Berg, Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa
Robin Lyle, Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa
Charles Haddad, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of the Free State, South Africa
Stefan Foord, Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology, Department of Zoology, University of Venda, South Africa
Leon Lotz, Department of Arachnology, National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

The South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA) was initiated in 1997 by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), with the main aim of documenting the Arachnid fauna of South Africa at a national level. Through their Endangered Species Programme, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) came on board for the project’s second phase, called SANSA II, from 2006 to 2010, in partnership with the ARC. During this four-year project an attempt was made to consolidate all available data on South African spiders into one database. This data was used to determine the spatial coverage of the already available data, and to determine where ‘gaps’ in the data lie to identify priority areas for focused field work. Due to extensive collecting done by SANSA field work managers, specimen bycatches from other research projects, student projects, and through public participation in collecting specimens, more than 40 degree square grids were sampled in previously poorly sampled areas. This effort has provided valuable material that has improved our knowledge of the distribution of species, and provided specimens for future taxonomic studies. All this data was used to compile the First Atlas of the Spider Species of South Africa, including georeferenced locality data, distribution maps and information on the level of endemicity of each species. Following SANSA II, 71 spider families, 471 genera and 2028 species are presently known in South Africa. The third phase of SANSA started in 2011 and several actions, such as Red Listing of species, a handbook series for all the biomes, publication of the atlas, and description of new species are underway.

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