New Delhi: The words 'dancing', 'charming' and 'spiders' totally feel outlandish and isolated from each other if used in the same sentence.
For scientists, however, the three words clubbed together actually make sense. This is because they discovered not one, not two, but seven new species of peacock spiders!
For most people out there, more species of spiders is not exactly a piece of information that needs celebration, but the scientists are elated!
Although physically minuscule, their charisma more than makes up for it. Their attractive colours and 'dancing' style is what attracted the scientists, which is what led to their christening.
As per Live Science, researchers found the newly described species — all of which were in the genus Maratus — in Western Australia and South Australia, bringing the total number of known Maratus species to 48. The spiders in this genus measure on average about 0.16 to 0.20 inches (4 to 5 millimeters) in length, with females a bit larger than the males.
Females that belong to this genus tend to be dappled in different shades of brown. But it's the males' dramatic coloration that catches the eye and prompts biologists to assign them whimsical nicknames like "Sparklemuffin," which was bestowed upon a peacock spider species described in 2015. Colors and patterns are displayed on the males' abdomens, frequently on a "fan" — a flat structure that is lifted up toward the female during the male's courtship performance.
The seven species are Maratus bubo, Maratus tessellatus, Maratus lobatus, Maratus albus, Maratus vespa, Maratus vultus and Maratus australis.
The spiders' 'dance' is one of the things that really caught the researchers' eyes, which they call its 'courtship dance'. This is because, while approaching the female, the male will vibrate his abdomen while waving raised legs and tail, and dance from side to side.
But, there's a catch - Though a female may witness a male's dance, she could already be carrying eggs or simply not be impressed. If the male continues his dance when the female is not interested, she will attempt to attack, kill, and feed on him.