Peacock jumping spiders are perhaps one of the cutest species of jumping spiders we have encountered. Their colorful body makes them easy to spot and identify. While peacock spiders are part of class Arachinada, they are most prominent in Australia, with at least one species present in Asia, especially in countries like China.
Though they belong to the genus Maratus, this jumping spider species is an integral member of the family Salticidae. While there isn’t a direct translation for the genus name Maratus, as per species translations, such as Albus, this means white and directly correlates to their physical features.
Adult males of this jumping spider species have a vibrant color, which is pretty significant when displaying courtship dances. But what makes the Peacock jumping spider so unique? Sit back as we take you through everything you need to know about the peacock jumping spider.
What is their scientific name?
Our leaper friends have many common names they are called. While they are popularly referred to as Peacock spiders, some people have also referred to them as Rainbow peacock. But besides their common names, this jumping spider species has a scientific name that has trailed it over the years.
And for those who have no idea, the Peacock spider is scientifically called Maratus.
Now that you know what the Peacock spider is scientifically called let us show you some glimpse of what our leaper friends look like in terms of their physical descriptions and size.
Physical description and size
When it comes to size, the peacock jumping spider doesn’t come close to some of the larger jumping spider species out there, and that’s because this spider comes in way smaller and measures between 2 to 6 mm.
Adult males of this jumping spider species boast of conspicuously colorful abdomens. While their elongated pair of legs can be brown or black, you’ll spot a blend of white brushes in the mix. On the other side of the aisle are the adult females of this jumping spider species, which comes in cryptically colored with a blend of mottled brown/beige.
When they want to mate, adult males of this jumping spider species usually raise their abdomen while waving their third pair of legs in synchrony to woo their female counterparts.
Similarly, adult males debut some sort of lateral flaps that extends from their abdomen like a fan. Experts believe that this fan-like structure, together with the bright color of the male peacock spider, is the reason why this species of jumping spiders are compared to a peacock’s display.
Where are they from?
While it comes as no surprise that most jumping spiders can thrive very well in any environment they are introduced to, studies show that jumping spider species such as the Maratus are mostly confined to the regions of Australia, China, especially in semi-arid and temperate areas.
While some species of this spider can only thrive in one specific habitat, others have adapted to several habitats due to their impressively mobile hunting tendencies. As per their habitats, you’re likely to find the peacock spider in deserts, grasslands, savannas, and scrubs forests.
Unlike traditional spiders, jumping spider species such as Peacock spiders do not spin webs. Instead, they use their impressive vision to stalk their prey and pounce on them with utmost precision.
As daily hunters of small insects, our leaper friends will eat a variety of insects, including moths, flies, grasshoppers, winged ants, and any other small insects that cross their path. In some not-so-common circumstances, adult females of this jumping spider species can devour their male counterparts if they are unimpressed by the male dances.
Thanks to their excellent vision, peacock spiders can spot their prey from many yards away, leap on them from long distances, and unleash their fatal bite. While their ability to jump long distances helps them hunt effectively in the wild, it also comes in handy when they want to evade predators and danger.
Generally, our furry friends are solitary creatures but come alive during mating seasons, when males aggressively court females.
Our fuzzy friends only communicate during mating season. During this period, adult males of this spider species make vibrations using their hind legs. And because adult females are built to recognize this signal, they easily pick up this display using a sensory system in their legs.
One unique thing about adult females of this species is that they can release chemical substances from their abdomen. This helps to produce drag-lines that are easily picked up by the chemoreceptors in males.
And let us also add that adult females of this spider species have powerful eyes that can easily detect the bright colors of the males in pristine detail over long distances.
What is their temperament?
Jumping spiders may appear harmless and shy when they come across humans, but guess what? Our leaper friends can deliver devastating bites when they come across their prey.
The only cool thing about them is that they are calm and collected towards humans. And because of their super friendly nature, bright colors, and enchanting spider display, many exotic pet lovers wouldn’t mind raising them as pets.
Let us also add that they are easy to maintain, and that’s because they don’t eat too much.
Is it dangerous and venomous to humans?
Though they look vicious and aggressive, peacock spiders aren’t harmful to humans. Sure, their devastating bite and powerful venom will instantly incapacitate their prey, but you know what, their venom wouldn’t cause any harm to humans. And just so you know, a bite from the peacock spider will only leave slight irritations and redness that subsides after 72 hours.
Frequently asked questions: Learn more about Peacock spiders.
Do females cannibalize males?
While adult females of this species are attracted to the males’ courtship display, findings have shown that adult females can end up eating their male counterparts if they are unimpressed by their courtship display.
Do Peacock spiders jump?
Like all jumping spiders, Peacock spiders can execute daring jumps. As a matter of fact, this skill is super important for their survival, especially in the wild, where they fend for themselves.
Are they poisonous?
Even though Peacock spiders have potent venoms that can instantly paralyze their prey, their venom is only good for hunting and doesn’t harm humans.