Peacock Spider

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© iStock.com/crbellette

They can jump up to 10 centimeters (40 times their body size) and see the full rainbow spectrum of light, including UV.


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Peacock Spider Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Arachnida
Order
Araneae
Family
Salticidae
Genus
Maratus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Peacock Spider Conservation Status

Peacock Spider Locations

Peacock Spider Locations

Peacock Spider Facts

Prey
insects, spiders
Name Of Young
eggs
Fun Fact
They can jump up to 10 centimeters (40 times their body size) and see the full rainbow spectrum of light, including UV.
Biggest Threat
birds
Most Distinctive Feature
Brightly colored body
Other Name(s)
jumping spider, rainbow peacock
Gestation Period
3-6 months
Litter Size
100s of eggs
Predators
birds, reptiles, insects
Diet
Carnivore
Type
arachnid
Common Name
Peacock spider
Location
Australia

Peacock Spider Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Blue
  • White
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Lilac
Skin Type
Exoskeleton
Lifespan
~1 year
Length
4-5mm
Age of Sexual Maturity
6-9 months

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Peacock spider refer to several species of Australian jumping spiders with elaborate mating dances.

They are not poisonous, only mildly venomous, and males are known for their brightly rainbow-colored bodies and ability to dance during their courtship rituals. They can jump about 10 centimeters, or 40 times as far as their bodies are long. They are not known to bite humans. They have a lifespan of approximately one year.

6 Incredible Peacock Spider Facts!

  • Peacock spiders can jump as far as 40 times the length of their own bodies.
  • Peacock spiders can see the entire light spectrum, including UV.
  • Their intricate mating ritual includes dancing while manipulating their abdominal flaps.
  • They come in a rainbow of colors.
  • They get their name because the males are brightly colored and do a mating dance similar to that of a peacock .
  • Females usually only mate once in their lifetime.
Nemo Peacock Spider
They get their name because the males are brightly colored and do a mating dance similar to that of a peacock.

Species, Types, and Scientific name

There are 92 known species of Peacock spider, at present, seven of which were only discovered in 2020! The first one was discovered in 1878. This was Maratus karsch. In 2020, researcher Joseph Schubert found the Maratus azureus, Maratus constellatus, Maratus inaquous, Maratus laurenae, Maratus noggerup, Maratus suae, and Maratus volpei. Maratus volans is yet another species. 91 of the known Maratus species are Australian, but there is a single species, Maratus furvus, which is found in China.

Flying Peacock Spider

There are 92 known species of Peacock spiders.

©2,048 × 1,367 pixels, file size: 1.88 MB, MIME type: image/jpeg – Original / License

Appearance

Most Peacock spiders have a male which has a brightly colored abdomen, whose third legs are elongated and black. The abdomen on the males has a very flexible pedicel which is the narrow stalk which joins a spider’s abdomen to its cephalothorax, which is the term for the combined head and thorax of spiders, as it is fused in most if not all spiders. Both the longer third legs and the flexible abdomen are used during the mating dances. The colors found on the abdomen are also iridescent. In fact, some of the males are not brightly colored and only have the iridescence. The females are typically smaller and brown or gray.



A curious common peacock spider.
Most Peacock spiders have a male which has a brightly colored abdomen, whose third legs are elongated and black.

©iStock.com/sara carter

Habitat

These unique spiders are found across the entire southern half of the Australian continent. They live across a wide range of habitats, and because of their hunting habits, many species roam over long distances and different regions. They can be found in grasslands, coastal dunes, scrub forests and desert areas, with some species being more specialized than others and living only on certain mountain tops or under the leaf debris of certain plants.

Diet

Peacock-spider-on-branch

Peacock Spiders’ diet consists almost entirely of

insects

and other spiders.

©iStock.com/crbellette

Unlike most other spiders, Peacock spiders do not build webs. Their diets consist almost entirely of insects and other spiders. They have excellent vision, allowing them to easily locate prey, which they run after and jump on. They hunt during the day, unlike many other spider species. They can see all the colors of the rainbow spectrum, including ultraviolet light, which makes them excellent hunters. They are not picky eaters and will eat almost any insects or other spiders they can catch, sometimes even prey that is larger than they are. Occasionally, the females will eat the males.

History and Evolution

Male peacock jumping spider (Maratus tasmanicus) on Carpobrotus plant.

Male peacock jumping spider (Maratus tasmanicus) on Carpobrotus plant.

©Kristian Bell/Shutterstock.com

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Types of Peacock Spiders

  • Unusual Peacock Spider – The Maratus anomalus can be found in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia.
  • Sparklemuffin – The Maratus jactatus is a jumping spider, and their scientific name comes from a word in Latin translating to rocking which describes their rituals for mating. They can be found in the Wondul Range National Park in southern Queensland, Australia. They are one of the smaller Peacock Spiders.
  • Maratus Nigromaculatus – The Maratus nigromaculatus can also be found in Queensland, Australia, and it gets its Latin name from its black spots.
  • Common Peacock Spider – The Maratus pavonis can be seen in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and “pavonis” means “peacock” in Latin.
  • Skeletorus – The Maratus sceletus is named because its look resembles that of a skeleton. Males are mostly black with white stripes. You can find these “skeletors” also only in the Wondul Range National Park.
  • Coastal Peacock Spider – The Maratus speciosus is located on the coasts of Western Australia around sand dunes. As with all these types of spiders, they incorporate dance into their mating rituals. This particular subspecies expose orange hairs during their dance. These are one of the tiniest spiders in the world!

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

Peacock Spider FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where does the peacock spider live?

Almost all Peacock spiders are found in Australia, except Maratus furvus, which is found in China.

What does a peacock spider eat?

These spiders are carnivores who prefer to eat insects, such as crickets.

Where can I buy a peacock spider?

While it may be possible to purchase them, it is not advised, as Peacock spiders have short lifespans and very specific habitats that would be hard to replicate in captivity.

What is a peacock spider?

A Peacock spider refers to a type of Australian jumping spider, the male of whom has colorful abdominal flaps with which he attracts a mate with a mating dance.

Is the peacock spider poisonous?

No, it is not poisonous. Like most spiders, the peacock is venomous, and uses its venom to bite its prey, but it is no threat to humans and does not bite them.

Are Jumping spiders the same as peacock spiders?

Peacock spiders are one type of jumping spider.

What year was the peacock spider found?

The first Peacock spider was discovered in 1878, but a researcher found seven new species in 2020.

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Sources

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  6. Peacock Spiders / Accessed October 24, 2021
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  8. Peacock Spider / Accessed October 24, 2021