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When I was trying to figure out what arachnid was sauntering across my colleague’s back the other day, I came across this previously unknown to me species of spider.  Peacock spiders!

Aside: Yes, there will be pictures of spiders, an animated gif involving a spider (this one is quite tame and is before the jump), even a video of a spider.  But, you really should take a look at them.  They’re so pretty!

This is totally you right now.

Hmm

So…no, a peacock did not have offspring with a spider.  That would not be remotely possible as peacocks and spiders are not even the same phylum, never mind the same species.  Peacock spiders (Maratus volans) are a species of jumping spiders.  Both male and female peacock spiders are brownish, but the males have…plumage.  Kind of like peacocks.  Here, I will show you.

By Jurgen Otto, on Flickr (links to source)

Ok, so the spiders don’t actually have feathers.  That would be weird.  And useless.  But the males do have these colorful, iridescent hairs on their abdomen with longer white hairs on flaps attached to the abdomen.  When the spiders go through their courtship ritual, the male spider will raise it’s abdomen and also extend the flaps so that there’s this circle of color all bordered by white.  They also raise their third pair of legs, which are a bushy black with white tips.  And then they do a little dance.

How did I end up finding these spiders that obviously look nothing like opiliones or the thing that walked across my colleague’s back?  I have no idea.  But I’m glad I found them.

Here are the results of a Google image search for peacock spiders.  You can see all the different colorful spiders.  I’m not sure if they’re all the same species or not.

Oh, and that peacock from the gif is a needle felted peacock I made way back.  It looks kind of like colorful turkey.

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