Who says spiders have to be frightening?
In Australia, spiders come in all shapes, sizes, and especially colors. Some of the most vibrant representatives of their class like to show that off when looking for a mate.
Until 2015, many of these cute, colorful critters had gone unnoticed and unidentified. It took a hike through the Australian Outback for a couple amateur arachnologists to clear that up.
Jürgen Otto and David Knowles set out near Lake Jasper in Western Australia, National Geographic reports, when they spotted their first peacock.
Peacock spider, that is.
“I noticed an interesting pattern on its back, certainly an unusual one, and some iridescent patches,” Otto told Nat Geo. “It was of average size for peacock spiders and looked characteristic for the genus. One thing I noticed were the long [bristles] on the legs and also interesting marks behind the eyes. I could only see these details, though, after photographing it.”
On Otto and Knowles continued journey, they discovered six more peacock spiders, adding a total of 7 to the known species of Maratus to the list. Sixteen more may be added, as well, but the arachnologists are not yet convinced they belong in the same family.
There are currently 48 known species of peacock spider in the world. You can watch a few of them in the video below!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.