The Lower Invertebrate collection housed at the museum consists of all non-insect arthropods. The largest part of the collection is made up of the class Arachnida, which consists mainly of spiders, scorpions and solifuges. The collection boasts one of the most complete scorpion collections for Southern Africa, with a number of specimens collected from various localities abroad. More than 8,000 specimens are housed in the collection.
The collection of invertebrate specimens goes back to the earliest years of the museum. During this time the lower invertebrate collection formed part of the Department of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates. In 1991, the collection of invertebrates was separated from the Vertebrate collection and has been curated separately since.
The collection has a rich history of collectors. Many specimens were collected by P.A. (later Lord) Methuen. A highly respected scientist, Dr J. Hewitt, collected and described a number of species housed in the collection. Another high profile scientist who made interesting contributions to the collection was Dr Austin Roberts who collected trap-door spiders with Mr G. van Dam, although Roberts is more widely known for his contributions to ornithology and mammalogy.
Further contributions were made by the curators of the collection. Many of these curators, such as Dr V. FitzSimons and Mr W.D. Haacke specialised in Herpetology but collected arachnids on the side. Dr G. Newlands, the first curator of the newly-separated collection of Lower Invertebrates, worked on scorpions and later donated his extensive personal collection to the museum. Many microscopic invertebrates, such as freshwater crustaceans and zooplankton, were also studied by Dr H. J. Schaefer and by Dr. C. K. Brain.
After retiring as Director of the museum, Dr Brain concentrated on fossil micro-invertebrates from Nama basin as curator of the collection. He worked alongside an active volunteer, Dr M. Filmer, who concentrated on the arachnids of the collection. Dr Filmer was appointed as an Honorary Curator of Arachnids in recognition of his efforts.
To access the collection or for further information please contact Robin Lyle (firstname.lastname@example.org)