Entomology and Arachnology

In 1958 the Department of Invertebrate Zoology (with the rationalization of collections becoming the Department of Entomology and Arachnology) was created when an entomologist, Charles Frédéric Jacot-Guillarmod, became its first curator. He later vacated this post and took the position of Museum Director, and in 1968 Dr Friedrich W. Gess, an entomologist from the South African Museum, took up this post. At this time the insect collection was relatively small and lacked a defined focus. Together with Dr Sarah W. Gess (from 1972 onwards) and Mr A Weaving (from 1981 to 1995), the Gess's succeeded in establishing the Department as an internationally renowned research centre for the study of aculeate wasps. This in time became the largest collection of Southern African aculeate wasps and bees. Today, the Department houses approximately 250 000 insect specimens. The Albany Museum is the only repository of terrestrial insects between Cape Town (South African Museum) and Pietermaritzburg (Natal Museum) and therefore serves a wide range of institutions, organisations and individuals worldwide.