Data collected by researchers studying arachnids and reptiles in Zimbabwe's protected areas as well as the country's edible insects will add about 9,000 records in six datasets through this project. Drawing from the collections of the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo (NHMB).
The target species are useful bio-indicators of habitat, so documenting them helps understand habitat loss, grazing, deforestation and hunting on the edges of protected areas. Digitization of data contained in the NHMB manual catalogues will add to the available historical and current knowledge of diversity and species richness as well as the effects induced by climate and humans. Edible insects’ diversity is still poorly documented, an additional dataset would be much appreciated. The 52 species identified in NHMB's collection are only a fraction of all 524 edible insects recorded in Africa. However, most of the edible insect data is not in publicly accessible or in standardized databases.
Taxonomic verification and distribution if availed will become basic tools for management of natural resources. This project begins the process of archiving and resource mapping by using an occurrence dataset and checklists. With past GBIF projects we have not made a strong case for the sustainability and monitoring plan for this data mobilization exercise, we intend in this grants exercise to activate structures such as the entomological association, spider club and herpetological association of Zimbabwe.