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Family: Salticidae (Jumping Spiders). The world's most diverse and abundant spider family, with over 500 described genera and 5000 described species, which is more than 13% of all described spiders.
Size: Male and female up to 5 mm body length
About the Peacock Spider
The peacock spider is an amazing and beautiful spider. I would not like to be one though. Male peacock spiders perform an elaborate courtship dance to try and impress a female. If the male continues his dance when the female is not interested, she attempts to attack, kill, and feed on him. She may also do this after mating. In this case, presumably, her attack isn't because he had poor dancing skills. Sometimes the male can escape by jumping.
Therefore, if you are a male peacock spider, it's very important to be good at dancing and at jumping.
Peacock spiders are very small, like a few millimetres, and you need some specialised photographic equipment to get a really good picture of one.
Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.
Male Peacock Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2260 x 1884.
Male Peacock Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 1759 x 1214.
Female Peacock Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 1512 x 1176.
Male Peacock Spider. Photo by Jurgen Otto.
A Guide to the Spiders of Australia, by Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr, and Paul Zborowski.
This is a great field guide to Australian spiders. It's a toss up between this one and Spiderwatch for my second favourite spider field guide. This one is a lot different to Spiderwatch. It's got more than twice the number of pages. It's got much better photos. It comes with a soft clear plastic cover protecting the usual soft cover. On the other side of the argument, it's got no index other than an index of family names (i.e. no index of actual spider names, not their common names and not their scientific names). Which makes it hard to find things in it, if you don't know what family they are in. Also it's based on families and not individual spider species. It's still a wonderful book though.
From the publisher, "This definitive guide to the subject, written by three experts in the field, offers a window into a fascinating world. Notorious species such as the Redback and the Sydney Funnel-web sit alongside less wellknown but equally intriguing spiders such as the ant-mimics and net-casting spiders. The introduction covers spider structure, evolution, reproduction, silk and venom, together with peculiarities of the family within an Australian context.
The two main sections of the book deal with Trapdoor Spiders and Modern Spiders, and within each section there is a chapter on each of the 80 or so spider families that occur in Australia. Each is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the subjects, with more than 30 images per family for some of the larger groups such as the jumping spiders, and many rare images never before published. "
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