A Melbourne-based researcher has discovered seven new Australian species of tiny, brightly coloured dancing spiders.
Museums Victoria’s researcher Joseph Schubert, who used to be afraid of spiders, has published the details of the seven new species of Peacock Spider in a research paper in animal taxonomy journal Zootaxa on Friday.
The peacock spider, also known as Maratus, under the jumping spiders family, is unique to parts of Australia.
In recent years, they have soared in popularity due to their distinct vividly-colourful look with iridescent patterns and internet-famous courtship dance moves, shared by many citizen scientists on social media.
The new discovery brings the total number of species within this genus to 85, a statement by Museums Victoria said.
Schubert, 22, travelled to Little Desert in Victoria, where he identified two new species, and also conducted additional fieldwork in Western Australia, where five new species were found.
Schubert described five new species in 2019.
As the discoverer of the new species, he also got to name them, which he did after the spider colours, location or in honour of the people who first discovered the species.
Among the new species of the invertebrate, Schubert said Maratus constellatus, found in Kalbarri, about seven hours drive north of Perth in Western Australia, was his favourite by far.
“It’s such a nice-looking species, the pattern reminds me of The Starry Night by Van Gogh. Plus I travelled a very, very long way to find it!” Schubert said in a statement.