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Mon 8th October 2012 20:33 by Peter Harvey
re: Help identifying lycosidae
An accurate ID of the individual requires (1) adults and (2) microscopical or very clear lens examination of palp/epigyne. From the legs I would think your photographs are pretty certain to be of a juvenile Alopecosa, but almost certainly barbipes which can be numerous in suitable habitat on southern heathlands, as well as chalk grassland and lichen heath habitats on other dry grasslands. Adult female Alopecosa barbipes can also be pretty large, so even large size can't be taken to be more than an indication between barbipes and fabrilis. However a good quality lens and examination of palp or epigyne would probably enable an adult male or female to be distinguished from A. barbipes when confined to a tube (but the epigyne will be very obscured by hairs, so even this would not be easy) ) and the adult males of A. fabrilis would not have the brush of long black hairs on tibiae and metatarsi 1.

I would be interested in the record of Alopecosa fabrilis on one of your sites a few years back and which site, since the last record we have in the recording scheme is from Hankley Common in 1990, the only modern site and with Bloxworth and Morden Heaths the only other sites - but bearing in mind that the spider can easily be confused with A. barbipes if field identification is being relied on, especially by someone not very familiar with both species and the range of size, pattern and colour of both juveniles and adults (and I don't know of anyone alive in this country who would be!). Locket & Millidge in British Spiders state that A. fabrilis is generally darker than A. barbipes, especially on the ventral side of the abdomen, but this will almost certainly apply to adults and not necessarily juveniles, and these things are not going to be definitive on their own without a voucher specimen. Internet images certainly suggest that adult fabrilis in Sweden have black underside. Crooksbury Common appears quite close to Hankley Common, so it would be very good if you were able to find an adult for critical examination.


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