The spectacular mating ritual of the tiny peacock spiders of south-east Australia
by Daily Mail staff
- There are 20 known species of peacock spider but only eight have been formally identified
- Peacock spiders are so small you could fit ten of them on a fingernail
- They are found in Queensland and New South Wales in Australia
These dramatic-looking spiders may seem like they’re getting ready to attack, but this colourful display from male peacock spiders is in fact a mating ritual. Similar to peacock birds, where this spider gets its nickname from, the male flashes its brightly coloured, iridescent stomach flaps in a bid to attract females.
And even if these arachnids did attack, they wouldn’t get far because the adults only grow to about 5mm long. When a male peacock spider senses a female it will begin the mating ritual by lifting its legs and flashing its stomach in a sequence that looks like a dance routine. The females carefully study the colouring, vibrations and movements of the male to make sure the potential suitor is healthy and the correct species to mate with.
Once he has mated, he will repeat this dance with as many females as he can find and Maratus spiders can have multiple partners at one time. There are 20 known species of peacock spiders living in Australia, yet they’re so hard to come by only eight have been formally identified…
(read more and see more photos: Daily Mail UK)
(photos: Jurgen Otto and David Hill)