drum wolf

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drum wolf

Drum wolf ( Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata ), female

Subordination : True web spiders (Araneomorphae)
partial order : Entelegynae
Superfamily : Lycosoidea
family : Wolf spiders (Lycosidae)
genus : Bog wolves ( Hygrolycosa )
Type : drum wolf
Scientific name
Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata
( Ohlert , 1865)

The drum wolf ( Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata ) is a spider in the wolf spider family (Lycosidae). It has a Palearctic distribution and gets its common name from the male's courtship behavior , which includes drumming movements. The drum wolf is one of two swamp wolves ( Hygrolycosa ) found in Europe , along with the species H. strandi endemic to Greece , and is also Spider of the Year 2022.



The female of the drum wolf reaches a body length of 4.5 to 6.9 millimeters, with the average value here being 5.5 ± 0.7 millimeters. The male can be 4.9 to 5.6 millimeters long. The basic physique of the species is similar to that of other swamp wolves ( Hygrolycosa ).

sexual dimorphism

Like many other spiders, the drum wolf also has a pronounced sexual dimorphism (difference between the sexes). This can sometimes be noticeable in the size of the sexes, since the female of the species is usually larger than the male. The main visual differences between the two sexes, however, lie in their coloring.


Lateral view of a female

The carapace (back shield of the prosoma or front body) of the female is 2.44 to 3.03 millimeters and an average of 2.85 ± 3.03 millimeters long and 1.79 to 2.13 and an average of 2.11 ± 0.18 millimeters wide. The ratio between length and width of the carapace is 1.28 to 1.43 in females, with an average of 1.35 ± 0.04 millimeters. It is also inclined at 13°.

In the female, the carapace is light yellow-brown in color and has two reddish bands beginning from the posterior (advance) lateral (side) eyes. There are brown dots on the flanks. The coloring of the edges amounts to a reddish brown. The chelicerae (jaw claws) of the female appear reddish yellow, while they are lined with darker lines frontally. The sternum (breast shield of the prosoma) has a slightly yellowish color and dark red spots on the flanks.

The female's legs are yellow-brown in colour. However , the femora (thighs) and patellae (limbs between the femora and tibiae) appear lighter and have brown spots.

The opisthosoma (abdomen) of the female shows dorsal (above) a pale red-brownish ground color. Anterior (front) on this side is also a faint lanceolate spot, and posterior (back) there is a broad median (central) band that is brown in color and contains rows of white dots. The flanks of the opisthosoma are also pale and have black dots. Ventrally it has a yellow-white coloring.


Dorsal view of a male

In males, the carapace is 2.33 to 2.68 millimeters of body length, while it is 1.78 to 1.95 millimeters wide in this sex. The slope of the carapace is 5° in males.

The carapace of the male is colored yellow-brown, similar to that of the female, but not lightened. Two broad, dark brown bands each run laterally on this part of the body. Submarginal (underneath) there are also dark brown spots on the carapace of the male. The edges of the carapace have the same coloring. The male's chelicerae are tawny in color and have dark brown bands frontally. The sternum here is yellow-brown in color and its rim is large, dark, and rounded.

The legs are yellow-brown in color like the female, but the femora and patellae in the male differ only in that they are dark brown in color. The femora of the pedipalps are ringed with dark brown in the male, while the patellae and tibia (rails) are brown in color.

The brown-colored dorsal aspect of the male's opisthosoma has prominent yellow-white dots. The lancet spot is colored yellow-brown, unlike in the female. The sides of the opisthosoma have yellow-white stripes in males. Here the ventral side of the opisthosoma is colored yellow-brown and shows small dark-brown dots.

Genital morphological features

Frontal view of a male with recognizable bulbi

A single bulb (male sexual organ) of the drum wolf is characterized, among other things, by its cymbium (first and foremost sclerite or hard part of the bulb), the tip of which is covered with several macrosetae ( chitinized hairs ). The tegulum (second and middle sclerite) has a tapering apophysis (chitinized process) and the curved embolus (third and last sclerite) has a partially transparent lamina (layer of tissue) on its concave surface.

The plate of the epigyne (female sexual organ) is longer than wide in the drum wolf. Parts of the female reproductive system of the species are already recognizable from the outside through the integument (outer body shell). The copulatory openings of the epigyne are located posteriorly at two median fissures. The copulation canals are comparatively short. The spermatheca (seed pockets) are sometimes characterized by their long and sometimes curvy shape. The wider part of the seed pouches appears onion-shaped and is also equipped with knots.

Confusion with Common Gooseleg

spinimana ( Zora spinimana )
Taxidermied female Taxidermied male
Zora spinimana f.jpg Zora spinimana m.jpg

The drum wolf resembles the spiny spiny leg ( Zora spinimana ) from the wandering spider family ( Miturgidae ), which has a similar coloring to the drum wolf and also inhabits similar habitats. Otherwise there is no other spider species in Central Europe that resembles the drum wolf.


male, found in Latvia .

The drummer's range extends from Europe through Russia to southern Siberia . In Europe itself, the species is widespread and has so far only been found in continental Europe in Portugal , Croatia , Serbia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Montenegro , Kosovo , North Macedonia , Greece , the European part of Turkey and the Republic of Moldova and elsewhere on the island groups of France and Josef Land and Spitsbergen , the Russian twin island of Novaya Zemlya , Iceland , the island of Ireland and the Mediterranean islands not recorded. In Austria , the drum wolf can be found at altitudes of up to 800 meters above sea level.

In Great Britain , the species is mainly found in the districts of West Suffolk , King's Lynn and West Norfolk , the county of Suffolk and the county of Cambridgeshire in England . Other finds of the drum wolf on the island were scattered in the East Suffolk district , which also belongs to Suffolk, the New Forest and the county of Hampshire and earlier in Sherwood Forest country park and beyond in the counties of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire .


The drum wolf is a hygrophilous (moisture-loving) species and inhabits moors , swamps , wet meadows or moist forests , among other places . It also inhabits fens with bushes. In Great Britain, the species can also be found in swamp forests near roadways.

frequency and hazard

The frequency of the drum wolf varies by geographic location. The species is widespread in Central Europe , but much more common in the north than in the south.

The situation regarding the threat to the population of the spider is also interpreted differently depending on the country and region. In the red list of endangered animals, plants and fungi in Germany and the red list and total species list of spiders in Germany (2016), the drum wolf is listed in category 3 ("endangered"), as the species is generally considered rare here. In the long term, the population of the species in Germany can be assessed as moderately declining, while insufficient data are available for short-term analyses. As a result, there was no change in the inventory value from the previous Red List (1996), where the drum wolf was listed in the same category. In Austria, the species is considered critically endangered.

In the UK Red List (2017), the drum wolf is classified in the EN (“Endagered” or endangered) category according to the IUCN standard, similar to that in Germany. In the Red List of Arachnids (Arachnida) of Norway (2015) the stocks of the species are in the category NT (“Near Threatened” or potentially endangered) and in the Red List of Spiders of the Czech Republic (2015) in the category VU (“Vulnerable “ or vulnerable).


The drum wolf is one of the diurnal representatives of the wolf spiders (Lycosidae). The ground-dwelling species leads a very hidden way of life and stays in moss cushions or in layers of litter , for example , while in winter it occasionally stays under pieces of wood lying on the ground. Like most wolf spiders, the drum wolf does not create a spider web , but kills prey freely as an ambush hunter . The main prey are insects .

The life cycle of the drum wolf basically corresponds to that of other wolf spiders (Lycosidae). The phenology (time of activity) of adult individuals is between March and November for both sexes . Mating is preceded by a characteristic courtship behavior in which the male drums on dry leaves with his opisthosoma, producing a characteristic purring sound. This can also be heard by the human ear from a distance of several meters. A female willing to mate, who reacts to the courtship display of a male, signals her readiness for mating by vibrating her own body. The male usually dies after mating.

The egg cocoon produced by the female some time after mating contains around 60 eggs and is carried around constantly, attached to the spinnerets , as is usual in wolf spiders . Unlike other members of this family, however, the hatched young animals do not stay on their mother's opisthosoma, but on the remains of the cocoon. This behavior is probably an adaptation to the wet biotopes inhabited by the drum wolf. After a further period of time the young animals leave the mother animal and reach the adult stage in autumn and overwinter.


The system of the drum wolf has undergone several changes. The species name is a modified composition of the Latin words rubro for "red" and "fascia" for "bind" and thus points to the partially reddish bands of the species. The drum wolf is also the type species of swamp wolves ( Hygrolycosa ).

The species was subdivided into the aardwolf genus when it was first described by Gustav Heinrich Emil Ohlert in 1865 , in which a female was first described, and was given the name T. rubrofasciata . The spider was then given different names and changes by different authors. The term H. fasciata , which is common today, was first used by Friedrich Dahl in 1908 and has been the term used throughout for the drum wolf since another application in 1959 under Jacobus Theodorus Wiebes .

Spider of the Year 2022 award

The drummer wolf was chosen Spider of the Year 2022 by the Arachnological Society (AraGes) to draw attention to both its distinctive courtship behavior and the unusual nature of hatchlings to initially reside on their mother's opisthosoma, as well as the decline in its preferred habitats . In particular, reference should be made to the drying out of the moors, which are playing an increasingly important role as carbon stores, especially in view of the ongoing climate change. Another reason for choosing the drum wolf as Spider of the Year is also to obtain data on the spider's distribution.

The choice was coordinated by the Natural History Museum Vienna , in cooperation with the Arachnological Society and the European Society of Arachnology (ESA). 84 arachnologists from 27 European countries took part in the election.


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  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l Christoph Hörweg: SPIDER OF THE YEAR 2022. Arachnological Society e. V., accessed January 9, 2022 .
  3. a b c d e f g Sven Almquist: Swedish Araneae, part 1 – families Atypidae to Hahniidae (Linyphiidae excluded) . In: Scandinavian Entomology (ed.): Insect Systematics & Evolution, Supplement . tape 62 , no. 1 . Interpress, 2005, p. 208 .
  4. a b c d e f Sven Almquist: Swedish Araneae, part 1 – families Atypidae to Hahniidae (Linyphiidae excluded) . In: Scandinavian Entomology (ed.): Insect Systematics & Evolution, Supplement . tape 62 , no. 1 . Interpress, 2005, p. 207 .
  5. ^ a b Wolfgang Nentwig, Robert Bosmans, Daniel Gloor, Ambros Hänggi, Christian Kropf: Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata (Ohlert, 1865). In: araneae - Spiders of Europe. Natural History Museum Bern , retrieved 6 January 2022 .
  6. a b c Summary for Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata (Araneae). (PHP) In: Spider Recording Scheme. British Arachnological Society, accessed 9 January 2021 (English).
  7. a b Heiko Bellmann: The cosmos spider guide . Cosmos, 2016, ISBN 978-3-440-15521-9 , pp. 170 .
  8. Details page. (HTPPS) Red List Center accessed 9 January 2022 .
  9. Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata. (HTPPS) In: Spider Forum Wiki. Arachnological Society , retrieved 9 January 2022 .
  10. Gustav Heinrich Emil Ohlert: Arachnological Studies . In: Program for the public examination of the students of the higher Burgschule Königsberg . Konigsberg 1865, p. 10 .
  11. a b Natural History Museum of the Burgergemeinde Bern: World Spider Catalog – Steatoda triangulosa . Retrieved January 9, 2022.


  • Sven Almquist: Swedish Araneae, part 1 – families Atypidae to Hahniidae (Linyphiidae excluded) . In: Scandinavian Entomology (ed.): Insect Systematics & Evolution, Supplement . tape 62 , no. 1 . Interpress, 2005, p. 1-284 .
  • Heiko Bellmann: The Cosmos Spider Guide . Cosmos, 2016, ISBN 978-3-440-15521-9 (432 pp.).
  • Gustav Heinrich Emil Ohlert: Arachnological Studies . In: Program for the public examination of the students of the higher Burgschule Königsberg . Konigsberg 1865, p. 1-12 .

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