New Spider Discovered In Australia Named After Van Gogh's Starry Night
Seven new species of spider have been discovered in Australia.
The peacock spider is quite famous because theyuse their colourful bodies to attract females in a mesmerising dance.
But one has been singled out for its name and the inspiration behind it. Introducing to the world: Maratus constellatus.
That's the scientific name given to the Starry Night peacock spider, who was given its namesake by Australian spider expert Joseph Schubert because it resembled the colours from Van Gogh's famous painting.
The 22-year-old has helped name the seven new spiders found in Western Australia and Victoria, but he said Starry Night is his personal favourite.
"I ventured all the way to Kalbarri to find this species, which is about a seven-hour drive north of Perth," Schubert said.
"The patterns on the abdomen, to me, just look so much like Starry Night by van Gogh, hence the name 'constellatus' which means starry in Latin.
The rest of the spiders found have been called Maratus azureus, Maratus laurenae, Maratus noggerup, Maratus suae, Maratus volpei, and Maratus inaquosus.
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Mr Schubert is responsible for naming 12 out of the 85 known species in this group.
"A few of the spiders in this paper were named after the people who had discovered them," the Museums Victoria worker said.
"A lot of the species are actually discovered by citizen scientists who'd documented the locality data and taken photos of the spiders and sent images to me.
"Considering how many peacock spider species have been discovered in the past few years, I certainly think that there are more out there to be found."
Considering these spiders are usually no bigger than a grain of rice, it must have been an exhausting expedition to find all these new types.
While peacock spiders might look pretty, one species has a pretty brutal courting system.
When Maratus volans males dance for the female's attention, they raise their abdomen, then expand and raise their flaps so that the abdomen forms a white-fringed, circular field of colour. Their legs can also clap to help during the performance.
While this sounds like any type of courtship seen on a Saturday night at the pub, if a female peacock spider isn't interested in the male's advances, she will attempt to kill and eat him.
The female might also kill and eat the male after their mating is done.
Featured Image Credit: Joseph Schubert
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