The researchers at the National Museum go on regular field expeditions to collect animals, plants, and fossils for research and to build the collections. Such a field expedition is quite complicated to organise. Here is an example of a field expedition of an approved project to explain the process.
The 11 orders of Arachnids
The class Arachnida contains some of the most fascinating and enigmatic arthropods on earth, many of which are completely unknown to the general public. To remedy this, this article provides information covering each of the 11 different groups or orders of arachnids.
Hitchhiking is a time-honoured tradition for many a backpacker, and is an inexpensive way of covering the distance between destinations. Nature, of course, has its own version called phoresis or phorecy. In this case a phoront (the hitchhiker) attaches itself to a host and travels along until said host reaches a suitable destination, where the phoront will then detach again.
Pseudoscorpions have mastered this art to the extent that some species even require phoresis to survive. Pseudoscorpions themselves are an ancient order of tiny predatory arachnids, usually no more than 3mm in size, that superficially resemble true scorpions but lack the elongated tail and sting. Many species possess venom which they can inject into prey from small venom teeth at the ends of their pincers. This makes the Pseudoscorpiones one of only three arachnid orders that possess venom, the other two being true spiders (Araneae) and true scorpions (Scorpiones). Pseudoscorpions occur in almost every part of the world, though most species are found within the tropics and subtropics.
Arachnology is the scientific study of spiders and their kin, with particular emphasis on the identification of new species, the study of their biology and how they interact with their environment. Humans have had a fascination with these organisms since ancient times, with many early societies having myths with prominent spider figures.
J.A. NEETHLING1, 2 & C.R. HADDAD1
1Department of Zoology & Entomology, University of the Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300 , South Africa
2Department of Arachnology, National Museum, P.O. Box 266, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The pseudoscorpion family Geogarypidae of South Africa was revised. Prior to this study the family consisted of eight species in two genera (Afrogarypus Beier, 1931 and Geogarypus Chamberlin, 1930).