Peacock Spider

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Jürgen Otto can’t stop discovering new spider species. In 2005, the mite expert stumbled upon the stunning Maratus volans - a brightly colored “peacock spider” – near Sydney, Australia. It danced and postured, waving its tiny legs and unfurling a beautiful flap from its back. 

Then came other peacock spiders, including species known as Sparklemuffin, Skeletorus, and Elephans. Now Otto has described a new species - the peekaboo spider, Jortus remus. The remus part of its scientific name means “oar” - a nod to the odd fan shaped structures at the end of two of the males’ legs. When males wave these appendages, females stop and take notice … and then it’s mating time.

You can watch the full videos of these beautiful species here and here.

And read more about them at National Geographic.

Meet the Peacock spider (Maratus volans) - a species of jumping spider native to eastern Australia. Only 5mm in length, it is only the males that have this bright colouring. 

The males also have extensions on their abdomen that can be folded down. They use these to display their colours and markings to females, earning them their name of ‘peacock’. The male will first raise his abdomen, then raise his flaps forming a veritable field of colour. The male will then vibrate his raised legs and tail and dance from one side to another in an attempt to impress the female. [x]

Peacock Spider - Maratus robinsoni 

Peacock spiders are a group of mostly small and compact Australasian salticid (genus Maratus) in which the adult males have a plate (the fan) of dense scales, often brilliantly colored and highly iridescent, on the dorsal abdomen (opisthosoma). Often contrasting figures or patterns comprised of pigmented scales are superimposed on a background of iridescent scales. These salticids also have a long and highly flexible pedicel, allowing males to elevate the opisthosoma and display its dorsal pattern to females as part of their courtship display, involving lateral stepping and side to side rotation of the opisthosoma.

Maratus robinsoni is endemic to Australia and was described in 2012 from Newcastle, New South Wales. The opisthosoma of this spider is only a little more than 1 mm in length. With about 2.5 mm in total, it is the smallest peacock spider discovered so far. This small but very colorful species has a nearly circular dorsal opisthosomal plate (fan) with fields of vividly iridescent scales that reflect light directionally at frequencies that span the visible spectrum on a dark background.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Jurgen Otto (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia (2012)

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Ok so I’ve been getting a fair bit of questions about spiders and whether I can post fewer of them to my blog. I’ve been told that the rest of the bugs I post are “adorable” but the spiders are just “scary-looking”. I just want you to do me a favor. Watch this video. Look at the “Sparklemuffin” peacock spider (it’s about 3 min into the video and yes, that is it’s given name). Let me know if your opinion of spiders remains the same

btw, they accept your apology

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Has anyone else made this comparison yet? Or is it just me?

(Also, who else thinks Deadpool should refer to Spidey as “Sparkle Muffin”?)

This adorable spider is commonly known as the peacock spider (Maratus volans), for obvious reasons. Similar to actual peacocks, male peacock spiders raise a colorful flap on their abdomens to garner female attention. Also common among this species is a sort of spider polygamy where male peacock spiders court multiple females at once.

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Peacock jumping spider, Maratus volans

This male uses brightly patterned flaps on his abdomen, as well as white tips on his legs, to create a colourful mating display. 

-> See the full mating dance video here

He first waves to get the female’s attention, then vibrates his abdomen and dances from side to side, a behaviour that scientists compare to a peacock’s display:

People associate complex behavior usually with large animals, usually vertebrates [animals with backbones], so it is very unexpected to see a similar behavior in much smaller invertebrates, in particular spiders that most people hate so much. (Source)

-> PeacockSpider-Man makes music videos for spider mating dances. He has a whole channel on the Youtoobs devoted to peacock spiders.

For teaching: about spiders Evolution