A cute species of peacock spider has been named after Nemo, the adored clownfish in Pixar's Finding Nemo franchise. Maratus Nemo, which is only about the size of a grain of rice over 4mm long, was discovered by a citizen scientist in South Australia.

The new species is named for its sparkling orange and white stripes, which researchers say are used to allure a mate during courtship.

(Photo : Pixabay)

The Peacock Spiders 

Peacock spiders belong to the genus Maratus, which has become popular in the last decade because of the vibrant male colors and 'dancing' displays. Each has a series of flap circles around their bellies that they display during courtship or when competing against male rivals.

When a male peacock spider encounters a female, it begins the mating ritual by lifting the legs and flashing the abdomen in a dance-like sequence.Their courtship dances involve a complex series of movements as they move their legs in the air and shake their bellies.

The females carefully analyze the male's coloring, vibration, and movements to make sure the potential lover is healthy and the right species to mate with. When he gets married, he will repeat this dance to as many women as he can see. 

Also read: Yes, This Dancing Spider Really is Called a 'Sparklemuffin'

Maratus Nemo 

Maratus Nemo is described in a new study released in Evolutionary Systematics, which was written by Joseph Schubert, an Australian spider enthusiast.

A 23-year-old arachnologist at the Victoria Museums, Schubert said "It has a really vibrant orange face with white stripes, which kind of looks like a clownfish, so I thought Nemo was a really appropriate name for it."

'Surprisingly, Maratus Nemo was found in an ephemeral wetland complex in soft vegetation in shallow water. Peacock spiders, or Maratus spiders, are native to Australia and an internet sensation for their intricate courtship dances.

The Widespread Species

During the 'unique' dancing courtship of the species', the man raises a single leg, slowly waving it in a slightly bent position. As the woman approaches, the man rises and waves both legs faster.
Maratus Nemo was found by Sheryl Holliday, a citizen scientist from South Australia and an ecological field officer for the Nature Glenelg Trust.

The species appears to be fairly widespread, according to Holliday, she said that she saw about 40 individuals all in three different locations and she's very certain there will be more in the western Victoria and southeast of South Australia as well

(Photo : Pixabay)

Five Maratus Nemo Specimens 

Holliday collected five Maratus Nemo specimens - four male and one female - from Mount McIntyre and Nangwarry, South Australia, in November 2020. she knew this spider was different from the moment she discovred it, but she did not ackwoledge spiders as any particular species.

'He had a plain back but his orange-red face was what stood out and I had never seen anything like it before, so I knew it had to be before,' Holliday said.
Holliday posted photos on the Australia Jumping Spider peacock spider appreciation page in hopes someone would recognize them- and the photos caught the attention of Schubert.

Related Article: Fascinating! These Peacock Spiders Behave Like Cats and Dogs

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