Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Peacock Spiders - ridiculously awesome!

Check this out!

This is Maratus volans.
More videos with different coloration here, more pictures here.
Story here.


jsd said...

Truly beautiful and bizarre.

Spiders are greatly underappreciated.

When I was working in mangroves in the Northern Territory, Oz, I came across an area with the tiny (about the width of your little finger's fingernail) but spectacular [female]Gasteracantha westringi. In fact (and despite the protests of the publisher) it made the cover of my book on mangroves...


DaShark said...


I like them jumping spiders, they appear to be smart and to have attitude - the weaving ones, not so much!

Now, why would the females of Gasteracantha want to look so gaudy - are they competing for the males?

jsd said...

With the females so spectacular and the males so drab, I suspect so.

2 obvious possibilites:-

(1) For attracting males (works for me)

(2) Warning coloration -- as in I'm poisonous don't eat me... ...But then why not the males also? I was photographing a related spider Gasteracantha cancriformis in the Bimini mangroves once.

I moved it on a twig and a fearless anolis lizard immediately rushed over and tried to eat it. It made off with the spider in its mouth before I could see if it was successful. So much for the warning coloration.

Tropical Selkie said...

Happy face spiders are pretty good too: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5199409/British-scientists-study-Hawaiian-happy-face-spider.html

And you don't know spiders until you've had to use the 'long-drop' on a deserted atoll, on a dark night when the weak moonlight makes a million little pair of green eyes stare up at you, daring you to sit, bare-assed inches from legions of canes spiders. THAT is knowing spiders. Not that I had to do that; um, but yeah, I did, nightly for an entire field season.

DaShark said...

JSD: yes I would agree with aposematism as the most likely explanation for the colors - the more as there is marked sexual dimorphism, with the females inhabiting nets and being highly visible (and thus vulnerable) whereas the drab male appear to be hiding away in the underbrush when not visiting the ladies for some kinky bondage.

Selkie tu quoque?
Looks like there would be a niche for a blog targeting arachnophiles! :)
What can I say... sitting bare-assed surrounded by them creepy stalking spiders sounds, for lack of a better word, kinda Bizzarre?

jsd said...

'After several cautious approaches, males approach females, become strapped down with silk from the female, and copulate. Mating may take 35 minutes or more. After mating, the male remains on the female's web. Mating may occur repeatedly.'


DaShark said...

Like I said, kinky bondage! :)