For many people, spiders are terrifying becausenot only do they look scary, they can also be poisonous. But some of them should not be afraid - for example, beautiful spiders from the genus Maratus, which are painted in bright colors and attract females with their graceful dances. Some time ago, videos of them on the Internet gained quite a lot of popularity and people began to actively search for them in nature to take pictures. Ultimately, this led to the fact that thanks to ordinary people, scientists were able to discover dozens of new species of unusually beautiful spiders. Recently, 22-year-old spider-research specialist Joseph Schubert discovered 7 new species of these creatures, and this is an excellent occasion to talk about the reason for their popularity, their life and the level of danger to humans.
The fear of spiders is called arachnophobia and this fear is very common among people. It is believed that fear of spiders is more common than fear of firearms and flying on planes. Lyubov Sokovikova recently spoke about the causes of this phobia.
So what are they - spiders from the genus Maratus? In English literature they are known as peacock spiderstherefore, henceforth let us call them that. These tiny spiders no larger than 5 millimeters live in Australia and China. They have good eyesight that helps them hunt small flies and other insects. According to the observations of scientists, in most cases, these creatures quietly sneak up on unsuspecting victims and attack them. Among the peacock spiders there are poisonous species, but they are not dangerous to humans. Many of us would not even notice these millimeter creatures on our bodies and simply brush away or accidentally crush them.
The most amazing feature of these spiders is their outerbeauty. Male peacock spiders have a brightly colored abdomen, which they spread and demonstrate when they see females. If the females come closer to them, they raise their paws up and begin to perform mating dance. If females like their body color and movements, they will allow them to mate. It is important to note that the spots on the bodies of peacock spiders do not reflect light, as my colleague Ilya Hel already mentioned in 2019. Beauty and grace can explain the popularity of peacock spiders on the Internet. Right now, watch the peacock spider mating dance video, shot by insect expert Jürgen Otto. Already in love, huh?
So far, Joseph Schubert has managedindependently discover 12 species of peacock spiders, about the rules of the contents of which he wrote in the journal Zootaxa. But recently, ordinary people have begun to help him too - having discovered a tiny spider with an unusual color, they sent Joseph their photographs. Thanks to the joint work of scientists and ordinary people, 7 species of new spiders were discovered, and now the scientific community is aware of the existence of 85 species of spiders from the genus Maratus.
In an interview with scienceAlert JosephSchubert shared that peacock spiders are completely harmless and, in his opinion, they can be compared with little kittens. All new species of spiders are comparable in size to rice grains and each of them has a completely different body color. But they are the same in behavior - they attack the victims imperceptibly, and attract females by dancing.
Joseph Schubert especially liked the newview of Maratus Constellatus. Firstly, the coloring of the body of spiders of this species is somewhat reminiscent of Van Gogh's Starry Night. Secondly, Joseph took quite a while to find this spider. Like everyone else, this spider is very small in size and can be placed on the tip of a pencil. You can see how tiny it is in the photo gallery of the aforementioned Jürgen Otto, who posted a spider dancing video on YouTube.
In general, Jürgen Otto also makes a huge contribution tothe study of some of the most beautiful spiders on the planet and we even have an article about his works. At a minimum, with his photographs and videos, he increases public interest in these spiders. Interested people look for them in the forests of Australia and China, take pictures, and send them to Joseph or Jürgen. Only in most cases, people already know well-known species, so they rarely manage to discover new spiders.
Interesting fact: the most dangerous spider in the world according to the BookGuinness World Records is a Brazilian wandering spider. But in 2019, Daria Yeletskaya told us about the new spider Loxosceles tenochtitlan, whose poison causes human skin to rot before our eyes.
Apparently, not all spiders on our planet -vile creatures who just want to pounce on us and bite. And if they are not the most pleasant-looking and potentially dangerous, what’s wrong with that? Spiders, whatever they are, eat harmful insects and indirectly help farmers maintain their crops. And they themselves are food for other animals, such as some birds, lizards and small mammals. Only now every year the number of spiders falls and this is fraught with consequences. About, the danger of extinction of spiders and insects, recently wrote my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova. I recommend reading it to everyone.