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Peacock Spider 11 (Maratus pardus)

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Published on May 2, 2014

This species was brought to my attention by David Knowles from Perth who spotted and photographed it, probably for the first time, in 1994 and I thank David here for helping me to locate this remarkable 4.5 mm long spider at Cape Le Grand in Western Australia. Almost 20 years later, it has just been named by David Hill and myself. We called it Maratus pardus after the ancient greek 'pardus' meaning 'leopard'. You can download the paper in which we describe it (114.1) from the Peckhamia website (download may take a couple of minutes) http://peckhamia.com/peckhamia_number...

Here is what's happening in the video. The brown coloured female inspects her immediate surroundings while a brightly coloured male waves his leg and looks for a reaction from any female nearby. He then becomes aware of a potential partner and unfolds his flaps to impress her. The female isn't impressed at all, and signals her unwillingness to mate to the male first by attacking him and then by raising their opisthosoma (abdomen) and slowly walking away from him. Remarkable here is not only the male's ability to evade the female's attacks, but also his persistence in light of what appears to be a hopeless and dangerous situation (sounds familiar ?). The male finally finds a female that he can get close enough for a first physical contact (behaviour that precedes mating), but once again is being rejected. Eventually though the lucky chap finds a female that is willing to mate and I can't help seeing the "spring" in his steps when he displays to her at 6:05 - 6:07, or is this just the music ?. Note how he has to twist her opisthosoma by 180 degrees to accomplish the actual insemination. At the end they separate.

You can see still photographs of mum, dad and the kids (very cute !) in my flickr album for this species https://www.flickr.com/photos/5943173...
The female produces a few eggs inside a silken egg sac and the young hatch after approximately 2 weeks. They all stay together in that egg sac for another two weeks, and neither the female nor her offspring feeds or drink during that time. After two weeks the young moult, leave the egg sac and live on their own. They are now able to hunt for small insects. It takes them several months to reach adulthood and only in the Australian spring they will once again present their colourful costumes.

Equipment used: Canon C100 with either 100mm Canon macro lens or Canon Mp-e65 mm macro lens.

Locating spiders, filming, editing, music selection: Jurgen Otto

Music in order of appearance

Adrift in time (Igge Scoce)
Nothing's the same now (Marco Pesci)
Manhunter (Igge Scoce)
Time (Marco Pesci)
Zimmermatic (Igge Scoce)

all licences from stockmusicsite.com

If you want to get updates about my work on peacock spiders visit me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PeacockSpider where I post about any new photographs and videos

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