Lower Invertebrate Collection


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 (audrey@ditsong.org.za)

Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural HistoryThe Ditsong National Museum of Natural History formerly known as the Transvaal Museum was founded as the Staatsmuseum of the ZAR on the 1st of December 1892.

And it has, since then acted as custodian and documentation centre of South Africa’s natural heritage.The Museum’s collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs Ples [the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind]; fossils, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. On these collections are based the Museum’s educational programmes, research is done and information is communicated to all people of South Africa as well as to the international community.

The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History is the only natural history museum in Gauteng and one of the largest in South Africa. It is unique in that it is the only institute in South Africa that offers the local, national and international community the opportunity to view its collections including original fossil material usually denied the public.


Educational Programmes

A comprehensive series of programmes and conducted tours is offered to schools, students and tourists in various South African languages. All education programmes are aligned to CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement). Booking is essential to participate in these activities. Please use e-mail to contact us while our phone system is being upgraded – bongi@ditsong.org.za.

Discovery Centre

A hands-on activity centre, where the five human senses are used to discover the wonders of nature, offering an invaluable educational adventure. It affords easy access for wheelchairs and display texts are also transcribed in Braille. This centre is ideal for younger learners that are eager to explore with their hands.

Public Programmes

Throughout the year talks are held at the Museum by various established researchers and scientists. Please check back regularly with the “Upcoming events” page or contact the Public Programmes Department.

Museum View


The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History researchers, as well as scientists from other institutions doing research can submit scientific papers to the annals. The major publications are the Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and the Monograph series.

The Museum has exchange agreements with a large number of scientific institutions, both abroad and in South Africa and 342 copies of the Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and 280 copies of the Monographs of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History are distributed annually. Up to 2010 the annals were known as the Annals of the Transvaal Museum. For quality control of documents, articles, news releases and reports, please contact: Dr Martin Krüger at kruger@ditsong.org.za

 Admission Fees

Prices for Adults, Learners, Senior Citizens and Discovery Centre


R35.00 p/p
Learners and Children
R20.00 p/p
SA Senior Citizens
R15.00 p/p
R20.00 p/p
R20.00 p/p
Discovery Centre
R25.00 p/p
Behind the scenes tour
R50.00 p/p
Night tour
R100.00 p/p
Discovery + Museum
R40.00 p/p
Guided tour
Additional R5 to approporiate tariff

Contact Information

Physical Address:
432 Paul Kruger Street Pretoria 0001

GPS Coordinates:
S 25° 45’ 11.2” E 28° 11’ 21.6”

Contact numbers:
012 492 1358
012 492 5708 – from March 2018
Admission: Daily:
08:00 – 16:00
(Except Christmas Day and Good Friday)

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