Peacock Spider

When a peacock spider dances, their life is literally on the line.

  • Peacock spiders are a genus of colourful arachnids, native to Australia, often found in coastal areas, but they also exist inland.
  • The scientific name of the peacock spider genus is Maratus and it is from the family Salticidae, the family of jumping spiders.
  • Peacock spiders are extremely small, and generally range in length from 3.5 to 6.5 mm (0.14 to 0.26 inches); and they do not create webs to catch food, rather their prey is stalked and leapt upon.
  • Male peacock spiders generally have an abdomen of bright metallic coloured patterns, from orange, blues, reds and greens.
  • Peacock spiders are well known for their complex movements that is likened to dancing, used by males to attract and court females.
Peacock Spider, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Colourful, Dance, Animal, Small, Arachnid, Orange, Courting, MaleA Male Peacock Spider
Image courtesy of Jurgen Otto/Flickr
  • If a male peacock spider fails to impress a female spider with their dance, the female will very likely eat the male, unless the male escapes by running off quickly.
  • German Jürgen Otto, who works as a biologist in Australia, has discovered a large number of new species in the genus, and is the leading research scientist on the spider, in conjunction with American jumping spider specialist, David Hill.
  • A single dance of a male peacock spider can last anywhere from four to fifty minutes, and movements can include leg waving above its body, and raising and flaring its abdomen in a similar way to a peacock feather train display, hence its common name.
  • Scientific documentation of peacock spiders was first undertaken by the English zoologist Octavius Pickard-Cambridge, in 1874.
  • Some species of ‘peacock spiders’ have been commonly named ‘flying spiders’ and ‘gliding spiders’, due to a false assumption that the flap on its abdomen is used to fly.
Bibliography:
Main D, The Amazing Mating Dance of the Peacock Spider, 2013, Live Science, http://www.livescience.com/39052-peacock-spider-mating-dance.html
Maratus Volans, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maratus_volans
Otto J & Hill D, Seven new peacock spiders from Western Australia and South Australia (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophryini: Maratus), 2016, Peckhamia, http://peckhamia.com/peckhamia/PECKHAMIA_141.1.pdf
The Peacock Spider – Maratus Volans, 2013, Amazing List, http://amazinglist.net/2013/02/the-peacock-spider-maratus-volans/
Wood S, Jurgen Otto and His Dancing Spiders, 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/jurgen-otto-and-his-dancing-spiders-20150520-gh61rs.html
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