Lycosidae  Sundevall, 1833 / Lycosa  Latreille, 1804   26 species

Lycosa tarantula  (Linnaeus, 1758)


Basic colouration whitish-grey, prosoma dorsally with 2 brown longitudinal stripes and a median whitish band and 2 lateral bright bands, sometimes indistinct. Head frontally and pedipalpus reddish, legs dorsally grey-brown, opisthosoma dorsally with a brown longitudinal spot, extending into 2 triangles, followed by dark chevrons, separated by white lines. Sternum black, legs ventrally striped black and white, opisthosoma ventrally with a wide black band, before it and behind limited by bright yellow or orange spots (aposematic colouration).

Body length male: 20-25 mm

Females similar to males, but basic colouration yellowish-brown.

Body length female: 25-30 mm
Additional information

At dry and stony places with sparse vegetation cover, in silken tubes with 2 cm diameter, reaching up to 30 cm deep into the ground, small leaves and other vegetation remnants are woven into the opening part of the tube, forming a collar. Mostly active at night.

Shy spider. Reports on its aggressive behaviour and toxic venoms are today clearly seen as medieval myths.

  No data
Distribution comment: Occurs in southern France (Planas et al. 2013), but Spanish records are misidentified and belong to L. hispanica (J. Carrillo pers. comm.).
Global distribution (WSC 2022): France (Corsica), Italy, Balkans, Turkey, Middle East
 male  female
Distribution List
Algeria   (Bosmans, unpubl.) ||| Bosnia and Herzegovina   (Komnenov, 2010) ||| Croatia   (no references) ||| Egypt   (Bosmans, unpubl.) ||| France   (no references) ||| France / Corsica   (no references) ||| Italy   (Pantini & Isaia, 2019) ||| Italy / Sardinia   (Pantini & Isaia, 2019) ||| Italy / Sicily   (Pantini & Isaia, 2019) ||| Libya   (Bosmans, unpubl.) ||| Malta   (Pfliegler et al., 2017) ||| Morocco   (Bosmans, unpubl.) ||| North Macedonia   (no references) ||| Tunisia   (Bosmans, unpubl.) ||| Turkey (Asia)   (Danışman et al., 2021a) |||

Bosmans R. (unpubl.) Provisional list of spiders of North Africa. Database excerpt Aug. 2019

Danışman T, Kunt K B, Özkütük R S (2021a) The checklist of the spiders of Turkey. Version 2021 [last updated 1 January 2021], online at pdf

Komnenov M (2010) Checklist of spiders (Araneae) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Uzizaž i Biospeld 5(2009): 52-69 pdf

Mikhailov K G (2013) The spiders (Arachnida: Aranei) of Russia and adjacent countries: a non-annotated checklist. Arthropoda Selecta, Supplement 3: 1-262 pdf

Otto S (2022) Caucasian spiders. A faunistic database on the spiders of the Caucasus Ecoregion. Database version 02.2022. Internet:

Pantini P, Isaia M (2019) the online catalog of Italian spiders, with addenda on other arachnid orders occurring in Italy (Arachnida: Araneae, Opiliones, Palpigradi, Pseudoscorpionida, Scorpiones, Solifugae). Fragmenta Entomologica 51: 127-152 pdf

Pepe R (2005) Basi zoologiche-naturalistiche del tarantismo nel Salento. Thalassia Salentina 27(2004): 47-62 pdf

Pfliegler W A, Schönhofer A, Niedbała W, Vella P, Sciberras A, Vella A (2017) New records of mites (Acari) and harvestmen (Opiliones) from Malta with a preliminary checklist of Maltese Arachnida. Soil Organisms 89: 85-110 pdf

Planas E, Fernàndes-Montraveta C, Ribera C (2013) Molecular systematics of the wolf spider genus Lycosa (Araneae: Lycosidae) in the Western Mediterranean Basin. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 67: 414-428 pdf

Simon E (1937) Les arachnides de France 6 (5). Paris (Roret): 979-1298 pdf

Taberlet J-P (unpubl.)

WSC (2022) World Spider Catalog. Version 23.0. Natural History Museum Bern, online at (21.01.2022) doi: 10.24436/2 pdf

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