National History Museum

Multidisciplinary international expedition to KwaZulu-Natal Province

Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs, curator of Entomology and Dr Vaughn Swart, University of the Free State, organized a 20-day multidisciplinary international expedition to KwaZulu-Natal Province (19 November–8 December 2014). The expedition comprised 18 participants namely Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs and Ms Eunice Letsobe (National Museum), Mr. Burgert Muller and Mrs. Chrizelda Stoffels (KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg), Prof. Steve Marshall (University of Guelph, Canada), Dr Daniel Whitmore, Dr Ben Price, Ms Elizabeth Allan and Dr Steen Dupont (Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom), Dr Peter Kerr, Dr Shaun Winterton and Ms Laura Breitkreuz (California State Collection of Arthropods, United States), Dr Vaughn Swart and Ms Tanya Smit (University of the Free State) Dr Johann van As and Ms Michelle van As (University of the Free State, Qwaqwa Campus) and Dr Courtney Cook and Mr Edward Netherlands (North-West University, Potchefstroom).

Participants worked on various specializations or sampling protocols, collecting insects (mainly Diptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera and Odonata) for general collection development or for specific projects. Blood samples of amphibians and reptiles were also taken to study insect-borne pathogens. Prof. Steve Marshall captured images of living flies for use in the forthcoming Manual of Afrotropical Diptera.

Fieldwork was conducted at Royal Natal National Park and Ndumo Game Reserve.

Back row (from left):Courtney Cook, Ashley Kirk-Spriggs, Burgert Muller, Laura Breitkreuz, Stephen Marshall, Edward Netherlands, Vaughn Swart, Peter Kerr, Daniel Whitmore, Benjamin Price, Steen Dupont, Shaun Winterton. Front row (from left): Eunice Letsobe; Johann van As; Michelle van As; Tanya Smit; Chrizelda Stoffels; Elizabeth Allan.