On the night of 30th September 2023, one of our Dutch students Loïs Van Os saw a crab spider at her feet on braai night in Bush Camp. The spider was shipped to the University of the Free State where it was examined and photographed under a microscope. After the photographs were examined by Prof. Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, one of the world’s leading experts on crab spiders, she confirmed that it was a new undescribed species!
The spider belonged to the Genus Dimizonups, which until recently has not been recorded before in South Africa and only known from one species (Dimizonups insularis) found in Yemen! The specimen will ultimately be housed in the @National Museum of Bloemfontein’s arachnid collection.
Earlier this year, another Dimizonups crab spider, originally thought to be Dimizonups insularis, was seen in Elandsberg, Limpopo. It now seems possible that this spider belongs to the same species seen by Loïs at Bush Camp.
Very little is known about Dimizonups crab spiders, with only the female being formally described. Previous field observations suggest that they live in trees, which also concur with our observations at Mogalakwena. The crab spider found by Loïs was under a large Senegalia tree, and another living spider was later seen in another large Senegalia tree by Jan Jacobs.