These are some of Australia's newest spiders, Maratus felinus and Maratus combustus. Picture: Joseph Schubert
These are some of Australia's newest spiders, Maratus felinus and Maratus combustus. Picture: Joseph Schubert

Australia just got three new spiders

THREE new peacock spiders have been revealed by an Australian taxonomist, but he swears they are "harmless" and "charismatic".

The species from Western Australia were revealed by Joseph Schubert, who posted an image on Twitter this week announcing the spiders had been officially named.

"Meet Australia's three newest species," Mr Schubert wrote. "As of today they are officially named: Maratus aquilus, Maratus felinus, and Maratus combustus."

Mr Schubert, who discovered the spiders while working with Project Maratus, said the spiders were distinctive with brightly coloured markings. He explained on Twitter that he had given some of his spiders their names to correlate with patterns on their abdomens.

Maratus aquilus. Picture: Joseph Schubert
Maratus aquilus. Picture: Joseph Schubert

Mr Schubert said these spiders were about the size of a grain of rice. So if you don't like spiders, these could be considered cute.

He said that 73 of the Maratus species have now been named.

According to Mr Schubert's research, the male spiders are brightly coloured, while the females are "drably coloured" and difficult to identify. The spiders are of interest for their elaborate courtship behaviour, which includes the males doing a dance to impress the females.

Maratus combustus. Picture: Joseph Schubert
Maratus combustus. Picture: Joseph Schubert

"They're incredibly, small but so charismatic and so colourful," Mr Schubert told 10 Daily.

He said peacock spiders were unique from other spiders, by being identifiable by their colourful markings on their abdomen. Other spiders are identified by their fangs, or spider hair. Ew.

Mr Schubert made the discovery at Lake Jasper and Mount Romance in Australia's southwest. He referred to the areas in Western Australia as a "biodiversity hotspot".

Maratus felinus. Picture: Joseph Schubert
Maratus felinus. Picture: Joseph Schubert
The man responsible for the discovery: Joseph Schubert.
The man responsible for the discovery: Joseph Schubert.


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