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


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.
Original Research