Team Spider kicked off their fieldwork in early September for the Karoo BioGap project. The main area of focus was the eastern site because this part of the Karoo had received rain during summer. With rain in mind, the very first sampling day was a wet one. The rain, along with the fact that this was the first of the sites that were sampled, presented a few challenges that were however easily overcome.
Rain moving in towards the sampling site on the first day in the field for Team Spider
Tyrone Le Roux catches his first baboon spider ever!
During the second trip, two spider teams headed out and completed a site together as a training exercise and a bit of team building. The sampling protocol was carried out by each team. Methods such as pitfall trapping, sweeping, beating and active searching proved to be easy with so many helping hands. After completing the first site, the teams went their separate ways to cover more ground. In this way, ten sites were completed and more sites will be done later this summer.
One thing was clear from all the sites visited- the Karoo was very dry and the current drought is extremely serious. Many farmers cannot remember conditions ever being as bad. The extent of the drought is not fully felt by those of us living in the city.
Team members learning how to dig up a mygalomorph spider
Both teams hard at work digging in pitfall traps
Team members learning to looking through plant material for spiders collected by beating a tree and a bush
Robin Lyle and Tyrone Le Roux, one of the teams, out in the middle of the Karoo