The silly side of science. Two new species of peacock spiders have been described, and, unofficially, they are known as Sparklemuffin and Skeletorus.
Peacock spiders have captured the imagination in recent years. The males are tiny, brightly-coloured, and amongst the greatest dancers in the natural world. Their attempts to impress a female have featured in BBC documentaries and they have Youtube videos dedicated to their dance moves.
Found in Queensland, Australia, the two new species are officially now named Maratus jactatus and Maratus sceletus respectively, and the latter is unlike any other peacock spider described so far in appearance. While other peacock spider males, including Sparklemuffin, show off bright, vivid colours, Skeletorus is a highly contrasting black and white, its discoverer likening it to a Halloween skeleton suit.
The authors believe that, when it comes to peacock spiders, we may have just scratched the surface, and many more dashing dancers are waiting to be discovered.
Otto, J & Hill, D. (2015). Two new peacock spiders of the calcitrans group from southern Queensland (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophryinae: Maratus), Peckhamia, http://peckhamia.com/peckhamia/PECKHAMIA_121.1.pdf
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