Entomologist Dr. Jürgen Otto films the Peacock Spiders of Australia, and they are super fun to watch. Though they are not well documented, there are 20 known species of these small jumping spiders. They have huge eyes, grow to about 5mm, and the males have colorful iridescent flaps that they use to attract females.
To date 8 peacock spider species are scientifically named and described (volans, vespertilio, splendens, pavonis, mungaich, linnaei, harrisi and amabilis), but I have photographed three more species which still need to be named. When it comes to spiders Australia is still poorly known and it is likely that many more species will turn up once people start looking. A researcher at the Western Australian Museum has reported to have found at least 20 species of peacock spiders, but expect even that number to increase.
All of the species currently assigned to the genus Maratus have flaps, some like volans or mungaich have large and impressive ones, others like linnaei and pavonis have small or barely visible ones. All species perform some kind of courtship dance, and with the exception of M. linnaei, the flaps are extended during the courtship. I recently found that the flaps in male M. vespertilio are not only used to impressive females but also in ritual fights with other males. That is quite exciting as such male to male interaction has never been observed before in peacock spiders. Seems like there is a lot to discover in peacock spiders.
via Bug Girl’s Blog.