Peacock Spider

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The Peacock spider or Gliding spider (Maratus volans) is a species of jumping spider. Octavius Pickard-Cambridge noted in his original description that "it is difficult to describe adequately the great beauty of the colouring of this spider". The red, blue and black colored males have flap-like extensions of the abdomen with white hairs that can be folded down. They are used for display during mating: the male raises his abdomen, then expands and raises the flaps so that the abdomen forms a white-fringed, circular field of color. The species, and indeed the whole genus Maratus have been compared to peacocks in this respect. The third pair of legs is also raised for display, showing a brush of black hairs and white tips. While approaching the female, the male will then vibrate raised legs and tail, and dance from side to side. Both sexes reach about 5 mm in body length. Females and immatures of both sexes are brown with no distinct pattern. A common urban myth is the belief that when the spider is leaping, it can use its flaps to extend the jump and glide short distances through the air. However, this belief has been debunked by the Australasian Arachnological Society. Jumping spiders are generally diurnal, active hunters. Their well-developed internal hydraulic system extends their limbs by altering the pressure of body fluid (hemolymph) within them. This enables the spiders to jump without having large muscular legs like a grasshopper. Most jumping spiders can jump several times the length of their body. When a jumping spider is moving from place to place, and especially just before it jumps, it tethers a filament of silk (or dragline) to whatever it is standing on. Should it fall for one reason or another, it climbs back up the silk tether. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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