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Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)
Biology: The Lycosidae is the fourth largest spider family of the world encompassing ca 2320 species in 7 subfamilies and 107 genera. They range in size from small to very large (2.8-45 mm body size). Most species are hunting spiders at ground level using no web for catching prey. However spiders of a few genera such as Aulonia and Sosippus make sheet webs provided with a funnel retreat, very similar to the webs of agelenid spiders. Spiders of some lycosid genera make burrows in the ground lined with silk serving as retreats and a place for the females to guard their egg sacks, e.g. species of Alopecosa, Trochosa, and Arctosa. Spiders of the Pirata genus make silk tubes in vegetation where they spend part of their time. Many other lycosids never use a retreat but are found running about in grass, leaf litter, over sandy or stony areas, across the surface of water and many other places. Wolf spiders are often very noticeable as many are active during daylight hours running about in sunshine hunting prey on the ground or in low vegetation. The females of some species attach the globular egg sack to the spinners, which is then carried about. After the juvenile spiders emerge from the egg sack they will climb up on to the mothers abdomen making it appear much larger. The spiderlings will stay well protected on the abdomen for several days or even weeks. Eventually they disperse and start a life on their own.
Characters of family: The lycosids belong to the group of araneomorph, ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The eyes are all dark in colour and arranged in three rows in a characteristic fashion. The anterior row has four small eyes set in a straight or slightly curved row, the second row has two large eyes further up on the on the vertical front, and the posterior row has two medium-sized eyes on the sides of the head which can be more or less steep sided. There are only few additional diagnostic characters of importance for the family, i.e. the lack of a retrolateral tibial apophysis on the male palp and that the female of many species carries her egg sack attached to the spinners. The carapace is longer than wide with the head region narrowed and high. It is usually densely covered with hairs and often with longitudinal median or lateral bands or both. In some genera there are characteristic bars in the median band or elongate U-, Y-shaped marks. The sternum is oval to shield shaped (scutiform). The chelicerae are relatively strong with toothed cheliceral furrow and prominent lateral condyle (boss). The labium is a wide as long, about half the length of endites. Legs are spinose and provided with 3 tarsal claws, usually with scopulae for adhesion. The second segments of the legs (trochanters) are notched. The abdomen is oval, always covered with dense hairs. There is no colulus in front of the spinners. The tracheal spiracle is situated just in front of the spinners. The epigyne is well sclerotized median septum which may be large and plate-like. The male palp is only rarely provided with a tibial apophysis. The tip of the male palp may have one or more claws.
Genus: Alopecosa Simon, 1885 - Fox-spiders
Characters of genus: Alopecosa seconds Pardosa in species richness within the Lycosidae. Medium-sized to large spiders with clear median band on the carapace wider than the eye group. Legs are stout with some males having swollen tibia I. Abdomen with clear cardiac mark. The species can be grouped by the colour of the ventral surface which is black in some species and light-coloured in others. The females dig a burrow where they guard their egg sack.
Alopecosa albofasciata (Brull, 1832)
Range: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Great Britain (Channel Islands), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Malta, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovenia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean to Central Asia (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female, characteristic spots on venter.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Alopecosella Roewer, 1960
Alopecosella perspicax (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Arctosa C. L. Koch, 1847 - Bear-spiders
Characters of genus: Medium-sized to large spiders characterized by a rather flattened carapace without clear median band, and with the eyes directed somewhat upwards. Most species lack longitudinal bands, and are well-camouflaged against the substrate. Legs with clear annulations or distinct spots. Males rather similar to females in general appearance. Depending on habitat, the species make burrows in sand, moss, detritus or under stones, but specimens are also frequently seen running about.
Arctosa fulvolineata (Lucas, 1846)
Range: France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Great Britain (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe, North Africa (Platnick 10.0).
Arctosa misella (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mallorca (Platnick 10.0).
Arctosa villica (Lucas, 1846)
Range: France (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Western Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Hogna Simon, 1885
Hogna balearica (Thorell, 1873)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Hogna fraissei (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mallorca (Platnick 10.0).
Hogna insulana (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mallorca (Platnick 10.0).
Hogna radiata (Latreille, 1817)
Range: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Central Europe to Central Asia, Central Africa (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female cephalothorax.
Female head.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Lycosa Latreille, 1804
Lycosa narbonensis Walckenaer, 1806
Range: France (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Malta, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Lycosa subhirsuta L. Koch, 1882
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mallorca (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Pardosa C. L. Koch, 1847 - Thinlegged wolf spiders
Characters of genus: Pardosa is distinguished from other Lycosid genera by the height of clypeus being at least twice the diameter of a anterior lateral eye, and by the head having almost vertical sides when viewed from in front. Fairly small, slender species, usually with a light median band on the carapace. The genus contains a large number of species, many of which are both common and abundant. They are active during the day, and often very noticeable when running in the sunshine or basking in exposed places. Some species cannot be identified on the basis of the general appearance, and require microscopic examination of the genitals for proper identification.
Pardosa proxima (C. L. Koch, 1847)
Range: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands) (introduced), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic, Canary Is, Azores (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Pardosa tenuipes L. Koch, 1882
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Pirata Sundevall, 1833 - Pirate wolf spiders
Characters of genus: Small to medium-sized spiders with light median band on the carapace enclosing a dark tune fork-shaped marking. This marking is very characteristic for lighter coloured species, but may be difficult to distinguish at darker species. The cardiac mark is usually lighter than the ground colour of the abdomen. Most species have the cardiac mark followed by paired bluish-white or white dots which usually are very striking. Some species also have light bands at the sides of the abdomen. The species construct vertical tubes in peat moss which are used as retreats, however much time is also spent running about. They are capable of running on water surfaces where they catch prey both above and under the surface. Some species, in particular P. piscatorius, resemble species of the Dolomedes (Pisauridae), which occur in similar habitats.
Pirata simplex (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mallorca (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Trochosa C. L. Koch, 1847 - Ground wolf spiders
Characters of genus: Robust spiders with a fairly dense clothing of the carapace with short hairs. Median band on carapace broadened anteriorly and enclosing two longitudinal, parallel dark bars. The females of the four species can be grouped in to two groups of two by the colour of the cardiac mark. Trochosa ruricola and the somewhat larger T. robusta are characterised by having the cardiac mark distinctly paler than the rest of the abdomen. The cardiac mark of the two other species, T. terrestris and T. spinipalpis is of the same colour as the general colour of the abdomen, and therefore rather indistinct. Male cardiac marks of the two latter species are often light and the colour in this sex is therefore not a reliable character in grouping species. However, adult males can be grouped by whether they possess a palpal claw, which is the case for T. ruricola and T. robusta. Males of all species with tibia, metatarsi and tarsi darkened on legs I. Nocturnal spiders that spend the daytime hidden in leaf litter, moss, etc. Females with eggsacks make a small burrow where they remain until the spiderlings emerge.
Trochosa ruricola (De Geer, 1778)
Description: Female abdomen dark brown with pale median band broadened anteriorly, and enclosing two well-defined longitudinal black bars. Lateral bands and cardiac mark are of the same pale colour as the median band. Abdomen without clear markings and appear uniformly greenish-brown . Legs also greenish-brown. Male carapace darker than that of the female and with more clearly outlinedt and narrower median band. The claw at the male palpal tip is relatively larger than that of T. robusta. Abdomen dark brown with light cardiac mark. Legs greenish-brown as in the female, but with tibia, metatarsi, and tarsi of Legs I dark brown. Size: Female 9-14 mm; male 7-9 mm. Maturity: All year. Habitat: The species is common in Denmark at ground level in a wide variety of usually damp habitats. The species is often found in gardens where it is one of the largest wolf spiders. Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Holarctic, Bermuda (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Trochosa terricola Thorell, 1856 - Ground wolf-spider
Description: Female carapace dark reddish-brown with distinct pale median band enclosing longitudinal dark bars behind the posterior eyes. Cardiac mark of abdomen is outlined with a thin dark border but of the same colour as the rest of the abdomen and therefore somewhat indistinct. Behind the cardiac mark are some faint, dark chevrons and paired light dots. Legs reddish-brown with vague annulations on the femora. Male usually with paler cardiac mark. The male does not possess a palpal claw. Size: Female 10-14 mm; male 7-10 mm. Maturity: Males autumn to spring, females all year. Habitat: Slighly damp to dry places with partly shade, such as forest edges, open forests and grassland. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Holarctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Trochosula Roewer, 1960
Trochosula conspersa (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).