Scientists Discover 7 Flamboyant New Peacock Spiders

Shaunacy Ferro

Behold the peacock spider. Peacock spider specialist Jürgen Otto, a biologist in Australia who is basically the driving force behind research of the largely unstudied peacock spider, has been steadily expanding the number of species known to science over more than a decade. His latest paper with collaborator David Hill in the journal Peckhamia [PDF], highlighted on Gizmodo, confirms that there are seven more species of peacock spider researchers hadn’t named yet.

A male Maratus vultus (shown) tries to entice a female Maratus fimbriatus (not shown) with a fancy dance. 

The colorful jumping arachnids were first observed in 1874. Otto first encountered them in 2005 but didn't begin uploading videos of them until 2011. He now pays for his off-the-clock research (he’s a mite researcher by day) with profits from his video channel. Otto observed his seven new species along the southern coast of Australia. Each are just 4 millimeters long, though they make up for their small size in flashiness.

There are now officially 48 species of peacock spider, almost exclusively in Australia, as well as 16 more species that have not yet been confirmed as part of the same genus.

[h/t Gizmodo]

All images courtesy Otto and Hill, Peckhamia (2016)

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