Original Research

Diversity of non-acarine arachnids of the Ophathe Game Reserve, South Africa: Testing a rapid sampling protocol

Charles R. Haddad, Anna S. Dippenaar-Schoeman
Koedoe | Vol 57, No 1 | a1255 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v57i1.1255 | © 2015 Charles R. Haddad, Anna S. Dippenaar-Schoeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 September 2014 | Published: 30 July 2015

About the author(s)

Charles R. Haddad, Department of Zoology & Entomology, University of the Free State, South Africa
Anna S. Dippenaar-Schoeman, Biosystematics, Arachnology, ARC – Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa; Department of Zoology & Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


As part of the second phase of the South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA), field surveys were conducted in many degree-square grids throughout the country using a standardised rapid sampling protocol. This study reports on the arachnid diversity of the Ophathe Game Reserve (OGR) in northern KwaZulu-Natal, as found during a preliminary survey in June 2007 (mid winter) and a SANSA field survey in October 2008 (mid spring) in four representative habitats. The SANSA survey included seven sampling methods: pitfalls, beating, sweep-netting, litter sifting, hand collecting, night collecting and Winkler traps. A total of 282 species in six arachnid orders were collected during the two surveys, of which spiders were the most species-rich order (268 species in 47 families). The SANSA survey yielded 966 adult arachnids, representing six orders and 197 species, with a further 67 species represented only by immatures. Although adult arachnid abundance (n) differed considerably between the four habitats (range: 156–321), adult species richness (Sobs) was less variable (range: 65–85). These survey results are comparable with several longer-term surveys in the Savanna biome, and indicate that the SANSA sampling protocol can yield an impressive diversity of arachnids during a relatively short period of sampling, with a high level of coverage (> 0.8 for sites and most sampling methods) and moderate levels of sample completion for adults (> 0.55 for all sites), despite logistical and temporal challenges. Additional repetitions of the SANSA sampling protocol in other seasons will likely increase biodiversity knowledge of arachnids in OGR considerably.

Conservation implications: The implementation of rapid sampling protocols in an atlas project is essential to generate a large volume of species-level data. The SANSA protocol is an efficient means for rapidly generating arachnid data, and in future will allow for an assessment of diversity patterns in degree-square grids across South Africa.


SANSA; Arachnida; spiders; savanna; species


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Crossref Citations

1. South African National Survey of Arachnida: A checklist of the spiders (Arachnida, Araneae) of the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in the Northern Cape province, South Africa
Anna S. Dippenaar-Schoeman, Charles R. Haddad, Robin Lyle, Leon N. Lotz, Stefan H. Foord, Rudy Jocque, Peter Webb
Koedoe  vol: 60  issue: 1  year: 2018  
doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v60i1.1486