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Peacock Spider (Maratus): Facts, Identification & Pictures Peacock Spider (Maratus): Facts, Identification & Pictures
Home / Jumping Spiders / Peacock (Maratus)

Peacock (Maratus)

Peacock spiders are special creatures from Australia. They’re part of the jumping spider family. What’s super cool about them? The males have bright, colorful patterns and can dance really well! That’s why they’re called “peacock spiders”.

Scientific Classification

Peacock Spider

List of Species Belonging to the Genus

Maratus albusMaratus boranupMaratus cristatus
Maratus amabilisMaratus buboMaratus dialeucus
Maratus anomaliformisMaratus caeruleusMaratus digitatus
Maratus anomalusMaratus calcitransMaratus electricus
Maratus aurantiusMaratus chlorophthalmusMaratus elephans
Maratus australisMaratus chrysomelasMaratus eliasi
Maratus avibusMaratus cinereusMaratus fimbriatus
Maratus bitaeniatusMaratus clupeatusMaratus flavus
Maratus furvusMaratus gemmiferMaratus griseus
Maratus harrisiMaratus heteropogonMaratus hortorum
Maratus jactatusMaratus julianneaeMaratus karri
Maratus karschiMaratus kiwirrkurraMaratus kochi
Maratus lentusMaratus leoMaratus licunxini
Maratus linnaeiMaratus literatusMaratus lobatus
Maratus madelineaeMaratus maritimusMaratus melindae
Maratus michaelorumMaratus michaelseni Maratus montanus
Maratus mungaichMaratus neptunusMaratus nigriceps
Maratus nigromaculatusMaratus nimbusMaratus obscurior
Maratus ottoiMaratus pardusMaratus pavonis
Maratus personatusMaratus piligerMaratus pilosus
Maratus plumosusMaratus proszynskiiMaratus purcellae
Maratus rainbowiMaratus robinsoniMaratus sagittus
Maratus sapphirusMaratus sarahaeMaratus sceletus
Maratus scutulatusMaratus speciosusMaratus speculifer
Maratus spicatusMaratus tasmanicusMaratus tessellatus
Maratus tortusMaratus trigonusMaratus unicup
Maratus velutinusMaratus vespaMaratus vespertilio
Maratus vittatusMaratus volansMaratus vultus
Maratus watagansi  

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: All the species of this genus are small-sized, being 4mm to 5mm (0.15 inches to 0.20 inches) long.
  • Color: The females, as well as the juvenile spiders of both the sexes, have a brown body, though with distinct mottled patterns of brownish and whitish scales. The males, on the other hand, come in colors of blue, red and yellow on the upper part of their abdomen. However, not all species of this genus appear bright to the human eye, for instance, the Maratus vespertilio, which have an ambiguous coloration, with the iridescence present on its lateral flaps.
  • Other characteristics: The males are characterized by a fan or plate on the upper part of their abdomen that is marked with bright-colored scales or hairs forming a pattern where the foreground and background stand in contrast with one another. The males, as well as females, have their abdomen joined with the cephalothorax by a pedicel which is long and flexible.
Peacock Spider Size

Eggs

The female spider lays about half dozen eggs within a silken sac after the completion of the mating process and guards them intently till the time they hatch.

Spiderlings

The spiderlings are mostly of a brown shade with a distinctive pattern and disperse to be on their own after a two-week span.

Baby Peacock Spider

Photo Credit: Adam Fletcher

The Web

Like all other jumping spiders, the species of this genus do not construct webs but keep producing silk as they move about in their surroundings. In fact, they are bold enough while stalking their prey and are known to pounce upon creatures that are thrice or four times bigger than them.

Are Peacock Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Peacock Spiders have venom. But they use it to catch tiny bugs for food. For humans, it’s not really a big worry.

Can Peacock Spiders Bite?

Peacock Spiders can bite, but they’re so tiny! They usually avoid people and keep to their colorful dancing.

Female Peacock Spider

Ecological Importance and Behavior of Peacock Spider

Peacock spiders play an essential part in maintaining the balance of their ecosystem. They mainly munch on small insects and other minuscule invertebrates, helping to keep those populations in check. This is super important for a healthy and thriving environment.

When it comes to their behavior, these little guys are all about their flair. The males are particularly showy, flaunting their vividly colored flaps and shaking what they’ve got to woo the females. But it’s not just a vanity show; this elaborate dance ensures that only the strongest, fittest males get to mate.

Natural Predators: Despite their dazzling appearance, peacock spiders aren’t invincible. They have their fair share of predators, including birds, larger spiders, and various other creatures that wouldn’t mind a colorful snack. Their bright colors, though helpful in the mating game, can make them stand out from these predators.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: In the grand scheme of things, it’s all about balance. The peacock spider helps out by munching on insects, which benefits other plants and animals in their habitat. On the other side of the coin, they’re also a food source for larger animals, playing their part in the circle of life.

Relationship with Humans: Humans are generally fascinated by peacock spiders. Their vibrant colors and unique dances have captured the hearts of people worldwide, especially on the internet. Although they pose no threat to us, it’s crucial that we show them respect and protect their natural habitats.

Quick Facts

DistributionAll over Australia, except the Maratus furvus, found in China
HabitatDry scrubby regions, grasslands, sand dunes, heaths, and in Eucalyptus woodlands, under leaf litters
LifespanApproximately 1 year
Diet Small insects like crickets as well as other spiders
Peacock Spider Images

Did You Know

  • The splendid courtship dance performed by the male members of this genus to attract a female to mate is indeed an interesting one. The bright, vibrant surface of their upper abdomen, often having fringes and extensions is brilliantly displayed during this time.
  • There are two different mechanisms for producing color, with one being the use of pigments for producing the cream, red, and white shades. The other one involves the usage of nanostructures to produce blue.
  • Entomologist, Jürgen C. Otto, has filmed a video of the remarkable dance of this species.
  • Ferdinand Karsch a curator of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde described this genus for the first time.
  • Peacock spiders have a special way of protecting themselves from predators and capturing their prey. Although they cannot fly, they have the ability to jump at a height of about forty times greater than their body length and catch prey.

In conclusion, peacock spiders are more than just a pretty face; they play a crucial role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Their unique behaviors, from their hunting techniques to their incredible mating dances, make them a fascinating subject for study and admiration.

Video of a Peacock Spider Dancing

Peacock spiders are special creatures from Australia. They’re part of the jumping spider family. What’s super cool about them? The males have bright, colorful patterns and can dance really well! That’s why they’re called “peacock spiders”.

Peacock Spider

List of Species Belonging to the Genus

Maratus albusMaratus boranupMaratus cristatus
Maratus amabilisMaratus buboMaratus dialeucus
Maratus anomaliformisMaratus caeruleusMaratus digitatus
Maratus anomalusMaratus calcitransMaratus electricus
Maratus aurantiusMaratus chlorophthalmusMaratus elephans
Maratus australisMaratus chrysomelasMaratus eliasi
Maratus avibusMaratus cinereusMaratus fimbriatus
Maratus bitaeniatusMaratus clupeatusMaratus flavus
Maratus furvusMaratus gemmiferMaratus griseus
Maratus harrisiMaratus heteropogonMaratus hortorum
Maratus jactatusMaratus julianneaeMaratus karri
Maratus karschiMaratus kiwirrkurraMaratus kochi
Maratus lentusMaratus leoMaratus licunxini
Maratus linnaeiMaratus literatusMaratus lobatus
Maratus madelineaeMaratus maritimusMaratus melindae
Maratus michaelorumMaratus michaelseni Maratus montanus
Maratus mungaichMaratus neptunusMaratus nigriceps
Maratus nigromaculatusMaratus nimbusMaratus obscurior
Maratus ottoiMaratus pardusMaratus pavonis
Maratus personatusMaratus piligerMaratus pilosus
Maratus plumosusMaratus proszynskiiMaratus purcellae
Maratus rainbowiMaratus robinsoniMaratus sagittus
Maratus sapphirusMaratus sarahaeMaratus sceletus
Maratus scutulatusMaratus speciosusMaratus speculifer
Maratus spicatusMaratus tasmanicusMaratus tessellatus
Maratus tortusMaratus trigonusMaratus unicup
Maratus velutinusMaratus vespaMaratus vespertilio
Maratus vittatusMaratus volansMaratus vultus
Maratus watagansi  

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: All the species of this genus are small-sized, being 4mm to 5mm (0.15 inches to 0.20 inches) long.
  • Color: The females, as well as the juvenile spiders of both the sexes, have a brown body, though with distinct mottled patterns of brownish and whitish scales. The males, on the other hand, come in colors of blue, red and yellow on the upper part of their abdomen. However, not all species of this genus appear bright to the human eye, for instance, the Maratus vespertilio, which have an ambiguous coloration, with the iridescence present on its lateral flaps.
  • Other characteristics: The males are characterized by a fan or plate on the upper part of their abdomen that is marked with bright-colored scales or hairs forming a pattern where the foreground and background stand in contrast with one another. The males, as well as females, have their abdomen joined with the cephalothorax by a pedicel which is long and flexible.
Peacock Spider Size

Eggs

The female spider lays about half dozen eggs within a silken sac after the completion of the mating process and guards them intently till the time they hatch.

Spiderlings

The spiderlings are mostly of a brown shade with a distinctive pattern and disperse to be on their own after a two-week span.

Baby Peacock Spider

Photo Credit: Adam Fletcher

The Web

Like all other jumping spiders, the species of this genus do not construct webs but keep producing silk as they move about in their surroundings. In fact, they are bold enough while stalking their prey and are known to pounce upon creatures that are thrice or four times bigger than them.

Are Peacock Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Peacock Spiders have venom. But they use it to catch tiny bugs for food. For humans, it’s not really a big worry.

Can Peacock Spiders Bite?

Peacock Spiders can bite, but they’re so tiny! They usually avoid people and keep to their colorful dancing.

Female Peacock Spider

Ecological Importance and Behavior of Peacock Spider

Peacock spiders play an essential part in maintaining the balance of their ecosystem. They mainly munch on small insects and other minuscule invertebrates, helping to keep those populations in check. This is super important for a healthy and thriving environment.

When it comes to their behavior, these little guys are all about their flair. The males are particularly showy, flaunting their vividly colored flaps and shaking what they’ve got to woo the females. But it’s not just a vanity show; this elaborate dance ensures that only the strongest, fittest males get to mate.

Natural Predators: Despite their dazzling appearance, peacock spiders aren’t invincible. They have their fair share of predators, including birds, larger spiders, and various other creatures that wouldn’t mind a colorful snack. Their bright colors, though helpful in the mating game, can make them stand out from these predators.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: In the grand scheme of things, it’s all about balance. The peacock spider helps out by munching on insects, which benefits other plants and animals in their habitat. On the other side of the coin, they’re also a food source for larger animals, playing their part in the circle of life.

Relationship with Humans: Humans are generally fascinated by peacock spiders. Their vibrant colors and unique dances have captured the hearts of people worldwide, especially on the internet. Although they pose no threat to us, it’s crucial that we show them respect and protect their natural habitats.

Quick Facts

DistributionAll over Australia, except the Maratus furvus, found in China
HabitatDry scrubby regions, grasslands, sand dunes, heaths, and in Eucalyptus woodlands, under leaf litters
LifespanApproximately 1 year
Diet Small insects like crickets as well as other spiders
Peacock Spider Images

Did You Know

  • The splendid courtship dance performed by the male members of this genus to attract a female to mate is indeed an interesting one. The bright, vibrant surface of their upper abdomen, often having fringes and extensions is brilliantly displayed during this time.
  • There are two different mechanisms for producing color, with one being the use of pigments for producing the cream, red, and white shades. The other one involves the usage of nanostructures to produce blue.
  • Entomologist, Jürgen C. Otto, has filmed a video of the remarkable dance of this species.
  • Ferdinand Karsch a curator of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde described this genus for the first time.
  • Peacock spiders have a special way of protecting themselves from predators and capturing their prey. Although they cannot fly, they have the ability to jump at a height of about forty times greater than their body length and catch prey.

In conclusion, peacock spiders are more than just a pretty face; they play a crucial role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Their unique behaviors, from their hunting techniques to their incredible mating dances, make them a fascinating subject for study and admiration.

Video of a Peacock Spider Dancing