Field of Science

More Wolfies (Taxon of the Week: Artoriinae)

Artoria mckayi, an inhabitant of alpine gravel river banks in eastern Australia. Photo by D. Paul.

Wolf spiders, or "wolfies" as I tend to refer to them, were previously covered here in an earlier post. The subject of today's post is one of the specific subgroups of wolf spiders, the Artoriinae.

Though one of primary assemblages of wolf spiders in the Australian region, the Artoriinae were only formally established as a distinct group in 2007 (Framenau, 2007). The group had previously been identified in molecular phylogenies as an unnamed clade sister to the combined clade of the subfamilies Lycosinae and Pardosinae. At least one morphological character has also been identified supporting the clade, the presence of a basal apophysis (side-branch) on the embolus, the intromittent part of the male's copulatory pedipalp.

A Tetralycosa specimen captured in the Great Victoria Desert. Photo by June Hudson.

Artoriinae are primarily restricted to Australia and the Pacific islands except for Artoria parvula which is found from northern Australia to the Philippines. Inclusion of the Sumatran Lycosella tenera is contingent on whether or not it is truly congeneric with Hawaiian Lycosella species (Framenau, 2007) while three African species listed in Artoria by Platnick's World Spider Catalog owe their position to Carl-Friedrich Roewer, whose classification of wolf spiders is generally regarded as unmitigated bollocks, and require a second look. More recently, it was suggested that the South American genera Lobizon and Navira may warrant consideration as possible artoriines (Piacentini & Grismado, 2009). Framenau (2007) placed eight genera in the Artoriinae (including Lycosella) plus two probable undescribed genera; Framenau's (2007) "new genus 2" has since been dubbed Kangarosa* (Framenau, 2010).

*One of the new Kangarosa species was named by Volker Framenau after his recently born son, placing Yannick Framenau in an exclusive club of people to have a new species named after them before they've even completed toilet training.

Lobizon corondaensis, an Argentinian species that may or may not be related to the Artoriinae. From Piacentini & Grismado (2009). 'Lobizón' is apparently Spanish for 'werewolf'.

Like other wolf spiders, artoriines are mostly conservative in their overall appearance. They do exhibit a reasonable size range, from the 2.6 mm Artoria palustris to 25 mm Tetralycosa species. Males of the South-West Australian species Artoria schizocoides possess a unique brush of spatulate setae on the underside of the first tibia (Framenau & Hebets, 2007). The members of the genus Tetralycosa are burrowing species that are invariably found in high salinity environments such as around salt lakes.


Framenau, V. W. 2007. Revision of the new Australian genus Artoriopsis in a new subfamily of wolf spiders, Artoriinae (Araneae: Lycosidae). Zootaxa 1391: 1-34.

Framenau, V. W. 2010. Revision of the new Australian wolf spider genus Kangarosa (Araneae: Lycosidae: Artoriinae). Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 68 (1): 113-142.

Framenau, V. W., & E. A. Hebets. 2007. A review of leg ornamentation in male wolf spiders, with the description of a new species from Australia, Artoria schizocoides (Araneae, Lycosidae). Journal of Arachnology 35 (1): 89-101.

Piacentini, L. N., & C. J. Grismado. 2009. Lobizon and Navira, two new genera of wolf spiders from Argentina (Araneae: Lycosidae). Zootaxa 2195: 1-33.


  1. Is "unmitigated bollocks" the official English translation if incertae sedis?

  2. After some of the stuff that's been sitting in my in-box this morning, I suspect that it's the official English translation of "taxonomic procedure".

  3. Speaking of chelicerates, the harvestmen were making themselves very visible in northern California last week.

    California and Hawaii specimens

    (Scroll to the bottom.)


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