Barbara Garcia Wright

Entomologist and Board Member

Barbara was born, and grew up as, a farmer’s daughter in Brazil. She worked as a highly successful fashion model gracing the covers of multiple global magazines doing international TV commercials. She met her husband in Taiwan before moving to South Africa permanently. Here she was able to pursue her life long passion of arthropods (insects and arachnids).  

She is one of the regions leading entomological, arachnid, and flowering plant specialists. She has over 5 years experience in collecting, rearing, and describing arthropods in the Maputaland Biodiversity Hotspot. She recently described the world’s largest widow spider, the Phinda Button Spider Latrodectus umbukwane, from the endangered sand forest. She discovered the first ever record of the mantis genus Oxyelaea in southern Africa, and the first ever wild pictures of Komac’s golden orb-web spider, both of which led to new populations being recorded. 

Barbara manages a regional species list, multiple social media sites of the region’s biodiversity and is currently looking at potential new species of baboon spider and praying mantis. She makes significant contributions to multiple national and international data basis through the work she does.

Barbara holds a certificate in entomology from the University of Alberta, a certificate in Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation from the American Museum of Natural History and is a qualified scuba diver.