The non-acarine Arachnida of the Amathole Mountains, South Africa


The non-acarine Arachnida of the Amathole Mountains, South Africa


BACKGROUND: The Eastern Cape province of South Africa has a rich floral diversity, with seven of the country's eight floral biomes represented in the province. The non-acarine arachnid fauna of the province is largely understudied and considerable gaps exist in our knowledge of the distribution, diversity and levels of endemism of the arachnid fauna.

OBJECTIVES: To address this, non-acarine arachnids were sampled intensively in the Afromontane forests and surrounding biotopes in the Amathole Mountains over the course of a decade.

METHODS: In the present contribution, comprehensive checklists of the non-acarine arachnids (specifically, the orders Amblypygi, Araneae, Opiliones, Pseu-doscorpiones and Scorpiones) of the region are presented, based on a combination of field sampling, provenance data from museum specimen databases, and a review of the historical literature.

RESULTS: In total, 398 species of non-acarine arachnids have been recorded from the Amathole Mountains, with spiders (Araneae; 324 species from 51 families) and harvestmen (Opiliones; 41 species from four families) the richest groups. The region is exceptionally rich in harvestmen and pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpio-nes; 24 species from 11 families), and might be considered a hotspot of biodiversity and endemism for these taxa.

CONCLUSION: As the sampling was concentrated around Hogsback, and most other areas remain undersampled, further efforts should be made to sample all representative biotopes more comprehensively in the mountain range. This will improve understanding of the distribution and endemism of the arachnid fauna and assess the conservation significance of the region from a national perspective.

Haddad, Charles R., Prendini, Lorenzo, Neethling, Jan-Andries, & Dippenaar-Schoeman, Anna S.. (2023). The non-acarine Arachnida of the Amathole Mountains, South Africa. Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation 53(1), 1-33.