No larger than a ladybug but with an elaborate mating dance the Maratus “peacock” jumping spider of Australia has a spectacular display.
To woo the female spiders the males are talented dancer with fancy footwork and an elaborate, decorative abdomen flap that they can raise up and down.
The female watches enthralled and if she is swept away by his magnificence she will allow him to mate, sometimes after first turning and doing her own dance to him, wiggling her abdomen seductively.
The greatest attribute of these jumping spiders is their advanced eyes. All spiders have eight, occasionally six, eyes, but they are generally quite simple organs, specks of black or silver that can detect light and dark, shadow and movement and some fairly rudimentary blurry images. The two central front eyes of the jumping spider are much more advanced – large, fronted by spherical lenses, with an internal focussing mechanism and complex four layered retina. All this means that a jumping spider can see fine detail, in color and at different distances.
Both sexes of the Australian “peacock” jumping spider have the ability to see color through ultraviolet, blue, green and red photoreceptor cells within their eyes.
The pattern on the male abdomen is unique and so is the choreography of each species’ dance
In June of 2016 Seven new species of peacock spider from the southern coast of Western and South Australia were discovered and named last month, bringing the total number of species discovered up to 48.
Just for fun watch this video created by naturalist Jürgen Otto of a male waving his legs around and raising his bright colorful display to attract a nearby female: