Exploring Insect Biodiversity in Namibia: A scientist’s collection journey
- 2 February 2024
The Namibia Scientific Society had the honour of receiving an insect collection by Pieter Arnoldus Basson. This donation was given to the Society to safeguard as well as to make it accessible to everyone interested in learning about these creatures.
Born on 20th May 1931, Pieter Arnoldus Basson (later in life better known as Doc Piet) grew up on a farm in the Grootfontein district, Namibia. In 1954, he returned to Namibia as a fully qualified veterinarian from Onderstepoort, South Africa. His observational skills and focus on small details made him an exceptional scientific researcher, with over 80 scientific papers as author or co-author, including the identification of many new parasites, their role in diseases, as well as the identification of poisonous plants and their detrimental effect on wildlife and livestock. After his retirement in 1996, he moved to farm Varianto in the Otavi mountains, with his beloved wife, Heidi, where he dedicated most of his time to farming. While working as a volunteer field worker on the identification of trees for the Tree Atlas of Namibia (published in 2005 by Barbara Curtis and Collen Mannheimer), he discovered many small bugs and insects on the various trees and shrubs. Being inquisitive in nature, he immediately started collecting, classifying and adequately preserving 100s of specimens of just as many “Gogga” species, which over the next 15 years resulted in this great collection.
Insects play crucial roles in the world's ecological balance, contributing to pollination, decomposition, and serving as a vital part of the food chain. Due to the vastly differentiating ecosystems of Namibia, the insects found here are especially interesting.
This collection boosts with a wide range of critters such as beetles, butterflies, moths, termites, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, and scorpions. It is a scientifically valuable collection, which the Society intends to make available to everyone interested as well as to use for creating awareness.
We wholeheartedly thank Mr Basson for entrusting the Namibia Scientific Society with this valuable collection and invite all members to have a look at this wonderful collection of the critters of the Otavi area.