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A specimen of the newly-discovered Australian Peacock spider, Maratus Bubo, shows off his colourful abdomen. Bubo, is the genus name for horned owls, a reference to the owl-like pattern on this spider's abdomen.
A specimen of the newly-discovered Australian Peacock spider, Maratus Bubo, shows off his colourful abdomen. Bubo, is the genus name for horned owls, a reference to the owl-like pattern on this spider's abdomen.Jürgen Otto—Reuters
A specimen of the newly-discovered Australian Peacock spider, Maratus Bubo, shows off his colourful abdomen. Bubo, is the genus name for horned owls, a reference to the owl-like pattern on this spider's abdomen.
After seeing a photo of this spider in Western Australia, Jürgen raised this Maratus Lobatus spider from an egg before photographing and identifying it.
Maratus Albus was found at the Eyre Bird Observatory in Nuytsland Nature Reserve. It lacks the flaps that differentiate other peacock spiders.
The name for Maratus Vespa comes from the generic name for wasps, a reference to the pattern on the spider's abdomen, which looks like a wasp's face. M. Vespa performs an elaborate mating dance, which uses the iridescent patches in the center of the fan to attract the attention of a female.
Maratus Tessellatus relies on leg work, as opposed to a flashy abdomen, for its courtship display. Its legs move so fast that in a normal 25 fps video clip, they appear only as a blur.
A specimen of the newly-discovered Australian Peacock Spider, Maratus Vultus, shows off his colourful abdomen in this undated picture from Australia
A specimen of the newly-discovered Australian Peacock Spider, Maratus Australis, shows off his colourful abdomen in this undated picture from Australia
A juvenile specimen of the recently-discovered Australian Peacock spider, Maratus Albus, sits on the nib of a pencil in Western Australia's Nuytsland Nature Reserve.
A specimen of the newly-discovered Australian Peacock spider, Maratus Bubo, shows off his colourful abdomen. Bubo, is th
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Jürgen Otto—Reuters
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7 Adorable New Peacock Spider Species Discovered

Jun 07, 2016

Seven new species of peacock spider from the southern coast of Western and South Australia were discovered and named last month, bringing the total number of species discovered up to 48.

Authors, Jürgen Otto, who photographed them, and David Hill, the editor in chief of the journal Peckhamia, have been identifying and naming new spider species since 2005. Thanks to their efforts, there are now 48 species of peacock spider known to science — including the seven new species that were revealed in May's edition of the journal.

Maratus, or peacock spiders, are a teeny-tiny spider genus in the jumping spider family, endemic to Australia. A full sized peacock spider might only reach about 5mm in body length. Their name refers to the colorful flaps they display during courtship, which has led Jürgen to compare them to birds of paradise, albeit on a miniature scale.

Due, perhaps, to their minuscule size, the spiders were mostly ignored by humans until Jürgen started photographing and filming them. In 2008, he filmed the courtship behavior of one of the little critters. It was the first footage ever of this behavior and the video blew up on YouTube. Today it has close to 2 million views. It even caught the attention of famous British naturalist, David Attenborough, who included footage of the spiders in his documentary series, Life.

The new species include Maratus vespa, M. albus, M. bubo, M. lobatus, M. tessellatus, and M. vultus. In addition, a previously photographed species was given an official name: M. australis.

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