Staff at the Natural History Museum – University of Copenhagen

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Nikolaj Scharff

Nikolaj Scharff

Head of Collections, Prof. MSO, Curator


Entomology: structure, phylogeny and biology of terrestrial arthropods 
(with other staff members/research associates at the Bioystemtic Section). 
For 3rd or 4th year students (spring terms). 

Fieldtbiology II: Terrestrial Zoolog(with other staff members at the Section of Biosystematics). Afholdes hver sommer på Kristiansminde Feltstation.

East Africa (with other staff members at KU) for bachelor students.

Summer School in Tanzania - Tropical rainforest biodiversity: field and GIS tools for assessing, monitoring and mapping (with staff members at the Science Museum in Trento (MUSE), Italy, University of Trento, Italy, and staff members from Biodiversity Section, University of Copenhagen) for MSc students and PhD students. Every year in August.

Phylogenetic Systematics and Molecular Dating (with ofther staff memners at NHMD and invited teachers). Two weeks in February-March in uneven years.


PhD supervisor for: Gustavo Silva de Miranda (University of Copenhagen) on the PhD project: Taxonomy, evolution and biogeography of a Charinidae (Arachnida, Amblypygi), based on morphological and molecular data.

PhD co-supervisor for: Rasmus Havmoeller (University of Copenhagen) on the PhD project: Abundance, ecology and genetics of leopards (Panthera pardus) in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania.

Other duties

Head of Collections with responsibility for all geological, botanical and zoological collections. Member of NHMD Board of Directors. NHMD representative in CETAF ( Member of editorial boards for ( Redaktionsmedlem på Graellsia, Folia Entomologica Hungarica og Insect Systematics & Evolution.

Miscellaneous (info)

Research Associate in the Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA. 

Primary fields of research

Phylogeny and comparative morphology of spiders in general. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the spider superfamily Orbicularia in particular. Historical biogeography of the spider fauna of the Southern Hemisphere, and in particular the Afromontane spider fauna. Species richness estimations of spiders in tropical ecosystems. Functional morphology of spider genitalia.

Curator of Arachnid Collection. Asssitant curator Jan Pedersen

Browse the Arachnida Collection and Primary Types.

Current research

Currently, my research focus on the phylogeny and comparative morphology of spiders in general. Various ongoing projects ranging from species level to genus and family level. I am also involved in a faunistic project on Danish spiders.

  • Revision and phylogeny of the spider family Malkaridae (Araneidae, Araneae).
  • Phylogeny of the spider family Araneidae (Arachnida, Araneae).
  • Phylogeny of the spider superfamily Araneoidea (Arachnida, Araneae).
  • Revision of the spider genus Eriauchenius (Araneae, Archaeidae).
  • Description of new spider species belonging to the subfamily Mynogleninae (Araneae, Linyphiidae). 
  • Danish spiders (webportal with faunistic information about spiders recorded from Denmark).
  • Diversity patterns of spiders in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. 

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