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Maratus pavonis

Fact Box
Maratus pavonis
(Note: The identification of this spider is derived from photos in a research paper by Otto and Hill, as shown below)
Body length:
female: about 5 mm
male: 4.5 mm
The male of this species is quite often found but the female is less often noticed, perhaps because of its different colour scheme (it is mostly brown and lacks the bright colours of the male)
The toxicity of this species is unknown but it may be too small to be a serious hazard
Maratus pavonis
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Another view
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Male, two views
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Both sexes close-up

The identity of this spider is based on the contents of the following paper: Otto J.C. and Hill D.E. (2011) "An illustrated review of the known peacock spiders of the genus Maratus from Australia, with description of a new species (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophrynae) PECKHAMIA 96.1, 1-27.

The males of most Maratus species have unique and brightly coloured dorsal markings but the females are a drab grey-brown colour and that is certainly true for M. pavonis. Note that there is no question that the female shown above and the last male in the set are the same species because they were found at the same time and within 20 cm of each other and the male has Leg III raised as a courtship signal.

Another unusual characteristic of the male of this genus is the presence of side flaps attached to the upper sides of the abdomen, these spreading sideways like a fan when the male is courting the female, a phenomenon that is even more pronounced on the closely related species, Maratus volans. This fan display is thought to be induced hydraulically, although the spider also tends to extend the abdomen and each Leg III upwards and to the rear as part of its courtship behaviour.

Known range: Apparently not present in Queensland but very common in Eastern and Southern NSW, in Victoria and Tasmania, and in the South-west corner of WA.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Maratus volans and other Maratus species.

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Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 1 February 2022.