Arachnology Department


Principal Museum Scientist
and Head of Department

Leon Lotz is a staff member of the National Museum in the Arachnology department

Leon N. Lotz  PhD  arachnol [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Leon obtained a BSc Agriculture degree, majoring in Animal Physiology, Nature Conservation and Zoology from the University of Stellenbosch in 1979. He then completed Military Service, serving in the Nature Conservation Section of the Northern Transvaal Command. He started his career in conservation at the Cape Department of Nature Conservation, Hartswater (Northern Cape Area Head Office - now in Kimberley) where he was second in charge of the Northern Cape Area. Leon then moved to the Kaffrarian Museum (now Amathole Museum), King William's Town, as a Collection Manager. He moved to Bloemfontein in 1987 to work at the National Museum, first as Collection Manager, later progressing to Scientist and Head of the Arachnology Department. Here, he furthered his studies at the University of the Free State and obtained a BSc Hons as well as a Certificate in Introduction to self-management, job-planning, development and general management in 1989, an MSc in Zoology and Entomology in 1996 and a PhD in Entomology in 2014.

Leon is a member of the following professional societies and groups: The International Society of Arachnology (ISA), the African Arachnological Society (AfrAS), the American Arachnological Society, the Biosystematics Interest Group, the South African National Survey of Arachnids and the Inland Invertebrate Initiative.


Museum Scientist

Jan Andries Neethling

Jan Andries Neethling MSc  ja [dot] neethling [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Jan registered for B.Sc Microbiology at the University of the Free State in 2006, obtaining the degree with distinction in 2009.  In 2010 he registered for third year B.Sc Entomology, obtaining distinctions in all the registered subjects and was consequently accepted into the Honours program at the Zoology and Entomology department in 2011 where he specialised in Arachnid taxonomy, but also did courses in Forensic Entomology and Plant-Insect Interactions.

At the end of 2011 he obtained his Honours (cum laude) with his thesis: “Effect of moon phases on the activity patterns of trapdoor spiders, scorpions and solifugids at the Free State National Botanical Gardens”.

He recently (2015) obtained his Master of Science (cum laude) with his thesis: “Revision of the South African Geogarypidae (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones)”, which represents the first holistic taxonomic study of a South African pseudoscorpion family, taking both molecular and morphological characters into consideration.

He is currently busy with the taxonomic revision of the South African Pseudoscorpionida fauna.


Chief Research Assistant

Trudie Peyper is a National Museum Staff Member in the Arachnology Department

Trudie Peyper    trudie [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Trudie Peyper grew up in Bloemfontein. She completed a B Agric degree at the University of the Free State. She started to work at the Museum in 1984 and is currently a Chief Research Assistant in the Arachnology Department.