Maratus vespa
David Knowles and I discovered this spider in 2015 near Lake Jasper in Western Australia. Any new peacock spider is an exciting discovery but this one had tricks up its sleeve that I only discovered later at home when I studied its courtship display.

The male expands the flaps on his abdomen and raises the legs in form of an arch. Then he moves the abdomen to one side and folds away the flaps. He then rotates it back to a centre position again and unfolds the flaps, then the same thing to the other side. The female is watching this display from 3-5 mm distance and is mesmerised by it. We think that the iridescent patches in the centre of the fan as well as on the flaps is what attracts her attention. You can see her moving in unison with the male's abdomen. This can go on for many minutes.

David Hill and I named and described this spider recently in number 141.1 in the journal Peckhamia. You can download it by clicking on that number on the Peckhamia website but be patient because it is 100 MB. The abdomen reminded us of the face of a vast, complete with mandibles, hence the name vespa which is the generic names for wasps.
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