Entomology Department


Curator becomes a Research Associate at the University of Fort Hare

29 June 2017

Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs became a Research Associate of the University of Fort Hare in April 2017. He visited the University in June and presented a seminar entitled “How many flies in Africa – Facing the challenge of describing the vast array of species”. Discussions were also held on future involvement in the Department of Zoology and Entomology and specifically the establishment of a field course in Diptera identification.

Visitor from National Museum of Kenya

29 June 2017

The Department of Entomology hosted the visit of Laban Njoroge from the National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi. Laban’s visit was mainly to view the collection facilities of the Department, especially the mosquito collection.

Fieldwork in Mauritius

18 January 2017

Fieldwork was conducted in Mauritius in December 2016. The expedition comprised Dr. A. H. Kirk-Spriggs and Mr. B. Muller (National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa), Dr. S.A. Marshall (University of Guelph, Canada) and Mr. G. Kvifte (University of Bergan, Norway). Kirk-Spriggs and Muller concentrated on general sampling of all Diptera families using passive sampling methods, Marshall focused on sampling of the family Micropezidae and on photography of specimens, and Kvifte focused on specific sampling of the family Psychodidae. Material generated through the survey will feed into “The Diptera (Insecta) of the Mascarene Islands” which will eventually be published as a Memoir of Afrotropical Dipterology and be distributed to authors of chapters for the forthcoming Manual of Afrotropical Diptera.

Sampling in Black River Gorges National Park.  From left: G. Kvifte, S.A. Marshall and A.H. Kirk-Spriggs.


S.A. Marshall (left) and A.H. Kirk-Spriggs


Fieldwork in Malawi

18 January 2017

The Department of Entomology conducted fieldwork in Malawi in November 2016. The expedition comprised Dr. K. Jordaens (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Mr. B.S. Muller and Dr. Ashley H. Kirk-Spriggs of the Museum. Fieldwork was conducted in collaboration with the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi and was centred on the Zomba Plateau and Mount Mulanje, in the southern part of the country. Malaise trapping was incredibly rich in Diptera.

Six metre Malaise trap across a stream in the Zomba Plateau, Malawi.



From left: A.H. Kirk-Spriggs, K. Jordaens and B.S. Muller

Survey of the true flies of Réunion Island

18 January 2017

In 2015, Dr. Ashley Kirk-Spriggs instigated a fly survey of the Indian Ocean island of Réunion.  A month was spent sampling true flies during which the number of fly families known from the island was doubled.  A collection of papers is planned for a dedicated volume on the flies of the Mascarene Islands.  

Fieldwork in Benin and Togo

18 January 2017

Dr. Ashley Kirk-Spriggs (Entomology Department) undertook fieldwork in the West African countries of Benin and Togo to collect true flies (Diptera).  The diversity of flies in West Africa is especially rich and this material will greatly enhance our collections.

Participation in SANBI forums

18 January 2017

In May, B.S. Muller participated in the SANBI Joint Biodiversity Information Management Forum (BIMF) & Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) Forum 2016, held at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town.  He co-facilitated and co-presented the georeferencing workshop held during the last two days.  The aim of the workshop was to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to georeference.  

Researchers visit Entomology Department

18 January 2017

During March Prof. M. Coetzee (right) of Wits University spent a week in the department studying recently collected African mosquitoes.  At the same time G. Daniel, a PhD student from the University of Pretoria, studied the African dung beetles in the collection.


Manual of Afrotropical Diptera

18 January 2017

The Manual of Afrotropical Diptera project is a major initiative that involves scientists from around the world.  This major publication includes identification keys to all the fly genera occurring in the African tropics, as well as introductory chapters on fly biology.  Volume 1 (59 chapters) is scheduled for publication in the first half of 2017, and volumes 2 and 3 in 2018.

Visitor to Entomology

16 November 2016

Arianna Thomas, a PhD student from Universidad de Alicante, Spain, spent several weeks as a visitor to the Entomology Department studying our collection of Afrotropical Rhiniidae and Calliphoridae (Diptera). Such visits from foreign researchers highlight the significance of the Diptera collection internationally.