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Seven New Species Of Stunning And Stylish Peacock Spiders Discovered In Australia

by : Emily Brown on : 31 Mar 2020 09:28
Seven New Species Of Stunning And Stylish Peacock Spiders Discovered In AustraliaSeven New Species Of Stunning And Stylish Peacock Spiders Discovered In AustraliaJoseph Schubert /Instagram

Seven new species of colourful peacock spiders have been discovered and are ready to show off their fancy colours. 

Spider enthusiast – yes, they exist – Joseph Schubert, who works at Museums Victoria in Australia, documented the discovery of the new arachnids after he travelled the country collecting specimens last year.

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Though peacock spiders are still spiders, and therefore creepy, they are significantly less terrifying than most of their relatives. Peacock spiders are typically very small, only about the size of a grain of rice.

While the females have more dull, black, brown and beige colourings, the males flaunt florescent, multicoloured bodies with the hopes of attracting females.

Males attempt to woo the ladies by waving their abdomens and legs around in a courtship dance, and some even have flaps than can be extended like a fan to further entice attention, much like male peacocks.

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To the naked eye they might appear as nothing more than little specs hopping around, but upon closer inspection their fancy dance moves become clear.

Check out the new species here:

The new peacock spiders, described in in the journal Zootaxa, are called Maratus azureus, Maratus constellatus, Maratus laurenae, Maratus noggerup, Maratus suae, Maratus volpei, and Maratus inaquosus.

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Schubert’s favourite discovery is Maratus constellatus, a species he found in the town of Kalbarri.

New species of Peacock Spider discoveredNew species of Peacock Spider discoveredJoseph Schubert /Instagram

He commented:

I ventured all the way to Kalbarri to find [Maratus constellatus] which is about a seven-hour drive north of Perth. The patterns on the abdomen to me just look so much like Starry Night by van Gogh, hence the name constellatus which means starry in Latin.

A few of the spiders in this paper were named after the people who had discovered them. A lot of the species are actually discovered by citizen scientists who’d documented the locality data and taken photos of the spiders and sent images to me.

Considering how many peacock spider species have been discovered in the past few years, I certainly think that there are more out there to be found.

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The new species hail primarily from Western Australia, though Maratus volpei was discovered in South Australia, and Maratus inaquosus in Victoria.

Schubert has now written up 12 of the 85 known species in this group, and he’s looking forward to describing and naming more in the coming years.

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The arachnologist shared a picture of the new discoveries on his Instagram to introduce them to the world, adding the findings provided ‘some welcome news in tough times’.

I’m not normally one to find spiders cute in any sense, but I admit I could watch these little guys dance all day long.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Science, Australia, Discovery, spiders

Credits

Zootaxa and 1 other
  1. Zootaxa

    Seven new species of Australian peacock spiders (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophryini: Maratus Karsch, 1878)

  2. Museums Victoria/YouTube

    Seven new species of peacock spiders!