Peacock Spiders, Maratus spp., are a distinctive group of Jumping Spiders, Salticidae, found only in Australia. They are small Spiders, generally under half a centimeter in length, but are highly distinctive, particularly the males, which are often brightly coloured and which perform eleborate courtship dances to attract the females.
In a paper published in the journal Peckhamia on 10 February 2016, Jürgen Otto of St. Ives, New South Wales and David Hill of Simpsonville, South Carolina, describe a new species of Peacock Spider from the Darling Riverine Plains of New South Wales.
The new species is named Maratus fimbriatus, meaning 'fringed' in reference to a fringe of bristles around the opisthosoma (abdomen) of the males, which is elevated during courtship displays. The species is described from two male and two female specimens collected from near Nyngan in central New South Wales, plus another 24 males and five females found in the collection of the Australian Museum.
Male specimen of Maratus fimbriatus with fringe extended during courtship dance. Otto & Hill (2016).
Males of Maratus fimbriatus range from 3.8 to 4.3 mm and are black in colour, with a covering of brown hairs, lighter on the sides than on the back. The opisthososma is covered with black scales with two white stripes and a distinctive fringe of white-tipped hairs. The pedipalps are brown, with a dense covering of white hairs, forming 'pom-pom' like structures used in courtship displays. The front two pairs of legs are short, with the foremost having white markings, also used in courtship displays. while the back to pairs of lengs are longer.
Female specimen of Maratus fimbriatus. Otto & Hill (2016).
Females of Maratus fimbriatus range from 3.6 to 4.9 mm in length, and are covered in light brown hairs, with a scattering of darker spots.
Male specimen of Maratus fimbriatus courting a female. Otto & Hill (2016).
All of the specimens of Maratus fimbriatus collected by the authors were found living on cracked clay ground in open woodland on the semi-arid Darling Riverine Plain; specimens from the Australian museum had less precise habitat information, but were all from the same river plains.
The habitat of Maratus fimbriatus. Otto & Hill (2016).
Maratus elephans, a new species of Peacock Spider from New South Wales. Peacock Spiders of the genus Maratus are a group of Jumping Spiders, Salticidae, found only in Australia. They are small in size, typically less than 5 mm in length, though the males are brightly coloured and engage in elaborate courtship dances, which give...
Peacock Spiders, Maratus spp., are a group of small Jumping Spiders, Salticidae, found only in Australia. The group gets its name from the bright colours...
Peacock Spiders, Maratus, are Jumping Spiders, Salticidae, endemic to Australia and distinguished by the bright colours and elaborate courtship dances of the males. The calcitrans group of Peacock Spiders currently comprises three members of the genus...
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