Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peacock Spider

Peacock spiders are often very colourful spiders. Maratus volans is not an exception. Although tiny, male spiders have an iridescent colouring of red, green and blue. The cephalothorax (head-breast part) and legs are usually dark brown to black with red stripes but the greenish upper abdomen is patterned with red and blue stripes.
Females and the immatures of both sexes are dull, brown drab coloured creatures.
Mature spiders are small with a length of between 4 and 5 mm.
The spider can be found in Queensland and New South Wales.
The male spider has two rounded skin-like flaps on either side of his abdomen that are folded down close against the sides of the body, like a shawl, when not in use.
The spider has - like all saticids - excellent eye-sight and can detect prey 20 cm away.
The brilliant colouring is not just for decoration. The peacock spider has earned its name when he courts with his mate.
He raises his abdomen vertically, expands his flaps and displays them like a peacock's tail. He also raises his third legs which have a brush of black bristles and the white-tipped ends. While vibrating his raised legs and tail, he starts dancing from side to side or rolls as a sailor as he approaches the female.
Altogether a spectacular courtship dance. After mating the male repeats the performance and dancing with other females.

These little spiders may be the best dressed bugs in the animal kingdom. They don't need to dress up, but their less colorful counter parts should buy wholesale clothing and dress to impress as well.

Source:Jurgen Otto
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