Lycosidae  Sundevall, 1833 / Lycosa  Latreille, 1804   28 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 2023): France (Corsica), Italy, Balkans, Turkey, Middle East
 male  female
Distribution List

"No references" does not mean that the species does not occur in this country, but that we have not yet inserted the reference for it. We are working on it.

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., 2023b) |||

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

Danışman T, Kunt K B, Özkütük R S, Coşar İ (2023b) The checklist of the spiders of Turkey. Version 2023 [last updated 17 July 2023], 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 (2023) World Spider Catalog. Version 24.5. Natural History Museum Bern, online at (25.10.2023) doi: 10.24436/2 pdf

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