Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Skelly spidey

Meet the two latest species of the flashy peacock spider, discovered in Queensland, Australia, by Madeline Girard, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Officially named Maratus sceletus (IMAGE ABOVE) and Maratus jactatus (IMAGE HERE), she has playfully nicknamed them "Skeletorus" and "Sparklemuffin," respectively. Entomologist Jürgen Otto describes the mating dance of the spider pictured: "When [the male] got within a few centimeters of the female, he exploded into a firework of activity. The spinnerets were extended and flicked around at an amazing speed, one of the legs was flexed like he wanted to show off his muscles, and he moved constantly from one side of the grass blade to the other.

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