Name those spiders

Making the rounds in science reporting recently: newly discovered peacock spiders. From National Geographic on the 24th. the story “Behold Sparklemuffin and Skeletorus, New Peacock Spiders: A few new species of these colorful, dancing spiders have been found in eastern Australia” by Carrie Arnold:

If you don’t think of spiders as cute and cuddly, then you’ve never met Sparklemuffin, Skeletorus, and the elephant spider. Scientists have identified these three new species of peacock spiders in various parts of eastern Australia.

Less than a quarter-inch long (five millimeters), male peacock spiders are known for their bright colors and a rolling-shaking mating dance that would make Miley Cyrus jealous.

Two of them:

(#1)

A new species of peacock spider, nicknamed “Sparklemuffin” by the graduate student who discovered it, performs a leg-waving mating dance.

(#2)

The peacock spider Maratus sceletus earned the nickname “Skeletorus” for its black-and-white markings.

Scientists being playful in naming the organisms they study.

On the genus, from Wikipedia:

Maratus is a spider genus of the Salticidae family (jumping spiders). These spiders are commonly referred to as peacock spiders due to their colorful abdominal flaps that they display during courtship. In at least one species, Maratus vespertilio, the expansion of the flaps also occurs during ritualised contests between males.

All described species, except M. furvus, are endemic to Australia.

One Response to “Name those spiders”

  1. Vegetarian spider discovered | Dear Kitty. Some blog Says:

    […] Name those spiders […]

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