The world of Peacock spiders – those stunningly coloured arachnids only found in Australia – just got a little larger.
Scientists have discovered another five species and sub-species of peacock spiders in Western Australia, bringing the total tally up to over 60.
One of the researchers behind the discovery is Dr Jurgen Otto, who calls himself “Peacockspiderman” on YouTube.
“In most peacock spider species — and the new ones are no exception — the males are strikingly coloured, and the patterns and colours are very distinctive, making it easy to distinguish one from another,” Dr Otto told ABC News.
Two of the new fancy-looking males are called Cristatus and Electricus.
“Cristatus has a pattern on its back that resembles the Union Jack and in addition has eight plumes of white setae (hairs) at its back that no other peacock spider has,” Dr Otto added. “Electricus stands out by its striking pattern of parallel red lines that make it look like a circuit board, and trigonus can be easily recognised by the white crown at the tip of its abdomen that is not present in any known species.”
Although Dr Otto hasn’t uploaded shots of these new beauties onto his YouTube channel yet, you can still enjoy some his other fantastic peacock spider videos.
Going by view count, the fan favourite is Peacock Spider 7 – Maratus speciosus. Just look at this marvellous creature. He knows how to get the ladies!
Male peacock spiders have great hair and amazingly coloured backs which they flash to prospective mates, along with wild hand gestures and some slick dance moves.
They’re not all scary. Peacock spiders are cute pic.twitter.com/MvntJ67rXQ
— Kev Parkes (@Derra_2) September 27, 2017
— Science News (@ScienceNews) February 14, 2017
The stakes are pretty high, too, since if the male fails to woo the female, she responds by eating him.
"If the male spider fails to impress the female with his dance, he becomes her lunch"
Tee hee 😈
— (((DuneMyThang™))) (@Kris_Sacrebleu) September 29, 2017
According to Quartz, Dr Otto first learned about peacock spiders when he almost stepped on one while out in the Australian bush.
Since 2008, Dr Otto has worked alongside fellow spider-lovers David Knowles and David Hill to find, categorize and name the various kinds of peackock spider, publishing their results in the journal Peckhamia.