The dancing Peacock Spider
Say hello to the Peacock Spider!
The peacock spider is named as such due to two brightly coloured skin flaps it has on the side of its abdomen. These bright colourful flaps are used in a courting dance by the male spider to attract a mate. With the wiggle of his abdomen and waving of his legs, the male Peacock Spider begins his courting dance, finishing the display by raising these colourful flaps.
This big display is put on by the very tiny spider, which is only about 4mm in size. But it’s not just one spider that does this. There is a whole group of these spiders that put on these dancing displays and show off their unique colouring.
Peacock spiders are not well documented at this point, but Jürgen Otto is putting his efforts into observing this species. Otto is the man who spent three years trying to find this amazing little spider again after stumbling across it in the bush undergrowth one day. Otto has since spent his time observing various species of Peacock Spiders, capturing their unique mating rituals as photographs and films.
It is thought that this behaviour and these fantastic colourful flaps evolved due to sexual selection, showing potential mates the evolutionary fitness of the male in question.
Whether or not sexual selection is why these traits evolved, I am just happy they did. The fascinating dance and gorgeous colours of this cute little spider just make me smile 🙂
(I would have loved to add a video of the Peacock Spider’s mating dance to this post, but could not do so due to copyright. If you would like to see this amazing phenomenon, please visit Jürgen’s Youtube page http://www.youtube.com/user/Peacockspiderman)