Peacock spiders keep dancing their way into our hearts. They’re tiny, they are colourful, they’re fluffy and they have killer moves.
And more are being discovered all the time, thanks in large part to zoologist Jurgen Otto.
Otto and his colleague David Hill have just named and described seven new species of peacock spider.
Almost all of these have added in the last nine years, each tiny spider with its own distinct colouring and pattern on its abdomen, or opisthosoma.
If You live in Australia, you may even have seen them in the bush without realising.
Maratus cristatus was found in the south of Western Australia, near the coastal town of Denmark.
It has eight tufts of white hair and a distinct pattern of latticed blue and dark oranged-red scales on its opisthosoma.
Maratus electricus, found in the south of Western Australia at Lake Muir.
In most male peacock spiders, these wrap around the abdomen, fanning out during courtship.
Maratus trigonus was found on the southern tip of Western Australia at Mount Lindesay.
M. trigonus’ flaps fold out into a triangle, with the top much wider than the base.
Maratus gemmifer was found a little way up the coast from the south of Western Australia, in the karnup Nature Reserve.
Its name means “bearing gems” because the flaps of the male’s brilliantly coloured opisthosoma each have a bright, gem-like spot that can only be seen when they’re unfurled.
Maratus melindae corus
Maratus melindae corus, found in Western Australia’s Banksia Reserve.
It looks a lot like M.gemmifer, but if you look closely, you will see its opisthosoma is lacking the two bright dots, and it has a white patch on the back of its head that M.gemmifer doesn’t.
Maratus nimbus was collected in Moama, New South Wales, but first photographed in South Australia.
Maratus sapphirus has only been found in a single location – Baraga Bay in New South Wales. The location is also known as the Sapphire Coast.
This article is published at Science Website ScienceAlert.
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