Arachnids

The Arachnid Department has been in operation at the Natural History Museum since1983, so it is a rather young department. Over 95% of the collection is from Zimbabwe with a few specimens from the neighbouring countries. Today we have a sizeable catalogued collection with well over 15000 Araneae specimen lots (spiders), 5000 Scorpiones (Scorpions), 1000 Solifugae (sunspiders) and many Acari (ticks and mites) Amblypygyi (whipscorpions), Pseudoscorpiones (false scorpions) Opiliones (harvestmen), Chilopoda (centipedes) and Diplopoda (millipedes/tshongololos).

Current research in the department focuses on the scorpions and spiders, by the museum and various members of the public that the distribution and taxonomy of many of our scorpions are relatively well known. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the spiders and despite their ecological importance, they are little studied in Zimbabwe. Only 200 species of spiders have been recorded in the literature as occurring in Zimbabwe. This is a fraction of what does occur, and total is probably closer to 6000 spider species.