The peacock spider belongs to the jumping spider family and is famous for its special mating dance. The mating ritual involves lifting a leg when approaching a female spider and showing of a peacock-like fan that is covered in a colored pattern.
The peacock spider measures between 0.1 and 0.3 inches in length and got its name because of its bright colors, which resemble those of peacocks.
Although this species of spider was first discovered in the 19th century, it has remained rather unstudied by scientists until recently.
One of the new species of peacock spider, Maratus sceletus, has white stripes on a black background and resembles a skeleton costume, hence the name Skeletorus. Some of the spiders that belong to this species also feature some blue spots on their belly.
The other newly discovered peacock spider, Maratus jactatus, features blue and bright red stripes, a design which has never been seen in any peacock spider.
Jürgen Otto, an entomologists and a spider photographer, explained that although there have been many species of spiders discovered recently, he believes that this is only a small fraction of this particular species. According to Otto, scientists will discover more of these in the future.
Otto photographed the spiders while they were performing their mating dance and saw that the spider started dancing when it got within an inch to its potential female mate.
Otto explained the spider’s mating dance, saying that it flexed its legs and it looked like the spider was showing off its muscles.
According to biologists, the bright colors of the peacock spider make them more visible to predators. However, this disadvantage is compensated by an increased mating period.
Madeline Girard, one of the researchers who discovered the new species of peacock spider said that a strong selection pressure often leads the insects to adapt their behavior in a more extreme way, as well as adapting the morphology and physiology.
The new discoveries were detailed in the journal Peckhamia.
Image Source: imgur