'Gorgeous' new spiders found west of Toowoomba

A male of the peacock spider species Maratus jactatus, which is nicknamed Sparklemuffin, lifts its leg as part of a mating dance.
A male of the peacock spider species Maratus jactatus, which is nicknamed Sparklemuffin, lifts its leg as part of a mating dance. Live Science

TWO gorgeous new species of peacock spiders nicknamed Skeletorus and Sparklemuffin have been discovered near Toowoomba, according to a new report.

Peacock spiders are so-named because of their bright colors and their dancelike, courtship rituals.

The website Live Science reports that the two new species were found in southeast Queensland by Madeline Girard, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley who studies peacock spiders, and a friend who went with her into the field.

The spiders were found in the Wandul Range National Park, about 120km west of Toowoomba

Girard affectionately gave the nickname Sparklemuffin to one of the species, Maratus jactatus, which has bluish and reddish stripes on its abdomen.

She nicknamed the other species Skeletorus for its white markings on a black background, which make it look a bit like a skeleton.

Sparklemuffin looks similar to three previously discovered species in this group of peacock spiders, whereas Skeletorus looks very different from all the other known species in the group.

Read more at Live Science

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