A newly discovered peacock spider, the Jotus remus — ‘remus‘ means ‘oar’ or ‘paddle’ in Latin — waves his paddle shaped leg at potential mates as he hides the rest of his body. Though he can’t see the female, he can most likely tell where she is from the leaf vibrations as she moves.
His first sight of these 5-millimetre-long spiders was on a tent bag when he unpacked his camping gear after a hiking trip a year ago to Barrington Tops. “At first I thought it was the same as many other hunting spiders common in Australia, but then I noticed it had strange legs,” he says.
Initially, Otto wasn’t sure if the spider came from his own garden or was a stowaway on the camping gear. So he drove back to the area where he had camped and found several additional specimens, including females, which he brought back for further investigation.
How widespread the species is has yet to be established. “It might be that it’s unique to the mountaintop area where I found it, but who knows?” says Otto.
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