The study of courtship behavior provides a useful tool for identifying cryptic species due to the qualitative differences that can be observed in closely related species. Here, we present an overview of visual courtship displays of 26 European species of the genus Pardosa C.L. Koch 1847, including new quantitative and qualitative data. Thirty-five recurring courtship elements are described and illustrated by means of drawings, photos and videos (available online). In general terms, complex movements of the palps, the first pair of legs and the abdomen characterize courtship displays in the genus Pardosa. The most complex movements are performed by the palps, while legs and abdomen mainly oscillate in the air or vibrate on the substrate. We noticed a high level of complexity in almost all of the species, both in terms of sensory modes involved and number of courtship elements composing the displays. No apparent relationships emerged when considering ethological similarities among species, attesting to the relative independence between morphological and ethological characters.
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Vol. 41 • No. 2