Friday, 27 March 2015

A new species of Peacock Spider from Western Australia.


Peacock Spiders, Maratus spp., are a group of small Jumping Spiders, Salticidae, found only in Australia. The group gets its name from the bright colours and elaborate courtship dances of the male Spiders. The males have flaps on the sides of their abdomens which they open to increase the area of body used in the display, further increasing their resemblance to Peacocks.

In a paper published in the journal Peckhamia on 8 June 2014, Jürgen Otto of St. Ives, New South Wales, and David Hill of Simpsonville, South Carolina, describe a new species of Peacock Spider from the Warwick Open Space and Gnangara Mound areas to the north of Perth in Western Australia.

The new species is named Maratus clupeatus, meaning ‘shield-bearing’, a reference to the shape of the male’s fan (abdomen with opened flaps) which resembles a medieval shield when raised during the mating display. Only the male of the species is described, these reach about 4.1 mm in length, and are black or dark brown in colour, with white hairs on the limbs and an area of brown scales on the head. The abdomen is brightly coloured, being light blue or blue-green to purple with orange or red-orange patterning.

Courtship display of a male Maratus clupeatus Peacock Spider. Otto & Hill (2014).

See also…

Peacock Spiders, Maratus, are Jumping Spiders, Salticidae, endemic to Australia and distinguished by the bright colours and elaborate courtship dances of the males. The calcitrans group of Peacock Spiders currently comprises three members of the genus...


In 1938 Jean-Louis Fage of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris described a new species of Goblin Spider (tiny Spiders generally found living in soil or leaf litter) from a single male specimen from the collection of the Natural History Museum of Vienna...

The Canary Islands are a group of volcanic islands in the northeast Atlantic, approximately 110 km off the coast of Morocco. They are true oceanic islands, never having been connected to a continent, and started to form in the Miocene about 22 million years ago...



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