Joseph Schubert likely has the strangest job you’ve heard about in a very long time – he’s a peacock spider specialist. Today, a report written by Schubert was released, showing seven new peacock spider species he discovered in South Australia. These seven new spiders show how gorgeous the peacock spider can be, complete with fur “plumage” that’ll make you forget that you’re looking at the stuff of nightmares.
Joseph Schubert seeks spiders in Australia
Thank you, Joseph Schubert, for taking the time to capture imagery and data on these new creatures in the place we know is more LIT with deadly creatures than almost anywhere else on earth. Yes, West and South Australia, the place you’ll want to go because you saw the cartoon Rescuers Down Under, but will quickly realize might’ve been a mistake. Unless you’re just there for the spiders.
In this arena you’ll find blue-ringed octopus, great white sharks, red-bellied black snakes, eastern brown snakes, Inland Taipan, and funnel web spiders. There’s a whole lot more – you’ll find quite a few deadly animals throughout Australia. Also living in this wild environment are a whole bunch of peacock spiders.
Mr. Schubert’s specialty is Peacock Spiders
The first Australian peacock spider genus Maratus Karsch was discovered all the way back in 1878. Seven new species were discovered and named by researcher Joseph Schubert in a report published this week, here in late March, 2020.
– Maratus azureus
– Maratus constellatus
– Maratus inaquosus
– Maratus laurenae
– Maratus noggerup
– Maratus suae
– Maratus volpei
“A few of the spiders in this paper were named after the people who had discovered them,” said Schubert in a BBC interview.
“A lot of the species are actually discovered by citizen scientists who’d documented the locality data and taken photos of the spiders and sent images to me,” said Schubert. “Considering how many peacock spider species have been discovered in the past few years, I certainly think that there are more out there to be found.”
This latest group of 7 new peacock spiders is just part of the picture. Schubert’s now written up 12 of the total 85 known species in the peacock spider group.
ABOVE: One of seven new species described in research published this week – Maratus constellatus. BELOW: Two more of the seven new peacock spiders described this week by Schubert.
“My favourite species would have to be Maratus constellatus,” said Schubert. “I ventured all the way to Kalbarri to find this species which is about a seven-hour drive north of Perth. The patterns on the abdomen to me just look so much like Starry Night by van Gogh, hence the name constellatus which means starry in Latin.”
BELOW: A report from Museums Victora all about Schubert and his focus on peacock spiders. This was originally posted back in December of 2019, but remains fantastic to view today!
How to see more spiders
You can learn more about the seven newest in newly-discovered peacock spiders from author Joseph Scubert in the paper Seven new species of Australian peacock spiders (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophryini: Maratus Karsch, 1878). This paper can be found with code DOI:10.11646/zootaxa.4758.1.1 via ZooTaza Volume 4758, No 1 (Zootaxa, [S.l.], v. 4758, n. 1, p. 1–44, mar. 2020. ISSN 1175-5334). Or just hit the timeline of links below for more spiders in general!