At first glance, you might mistake these brightly-coloured spiders for mythical creatures from the latest science fiction blockbuster.

But the spiders are very much real, and were spotted in Western Australia by the self-proclaimed 'peacock spiderman', Dr Jurgen Otto.

Dr Otto has recently discovered five new species of the 'dancing' spiders – the males of which are brightly coloured to help them attract a mate.

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At first glance, you might mistake these brightly-coloured spiders for mythical creatures from the latest science fiction blockbuster. But the spiders are very much real, and were spotted in Western Australia by the self-proclaimed 'peacock spiderman', Dr Jurgen Otto

At first glance, you might mistake these brightly-coloured spiders for mythical creatures from the latest science fiction blockbuster. But the spiders are very much real, and were spotted in Western Australia by the self-proclaimed 'peacock spiderman', Dr Jurgen Otto

At first glance, you might mistake these brightly-coloured spiders for mythical creatures from the latest science fiction blockbuster. But the spiders are very much real, and were spotted in Western Australia by the self-proclaimed 'peacock spiderman', Dr Jurgen Otto

PEACOCK SPIDERS

Peacock spiders are a type of jumping spider that live in Australia.

Each has a series of flaps round their abdomens that they display during courtship or when competing against rival males.

When a male peacock spider senses a female, it begins the mating ritual by lifting its legs and flashing its stomach in a sequence that looks like a dance.

Their courtship dances involve a complex series of movements as they waggle their legs in the air and vibrate their abdomens.

The females carefully study the colouring, vibrations and movements of the male to make sure the potential suitor is healthy and the correct species to mate with.

Once he has mated, he will repeat this dance with as many females as he can find.

Dr Otto has spent years discovering and photographing peacock spiders in Western Australia, since he first spotted one near Sydney nine years ago.

Speaking to ABC News, Dr Otto said: 'I took a photograph and then later I went home, looked at it on the computer and was just blown away.

'When I started with all this, there was not a single picture or video of a peacock spider on the internet.

'Nine years later now, you get many thousand hits when you type 'peacock spider' into Google.'

But while the number of pictures of peacock spiders has increased, the creatures still amaze people on a daily basis, according to Dr Otto. 

He said: 'One could think that the novelty of this would all have worn off by now, but people still get excited when they see them.

'Each new species is a complete surprise — the patterns and colours of each species are so different and so unpredictable, you never know what the next one and its display and courtship dance will look like.'

Over the last few months, Dr Otto has spotted five new species of peacock spider across southern Australia.

The Jotus auripes spider has almost holographic bristles at the front and is bright orange at the back, and was spotted by Dr Otto on July 22.

Over the last few months, Dr Otto has spotted five new species of peacock spider across southern Australia, although he is yet to name all five species 

Over the last few months, Dr Otto has spotted five new species of peacock spider across southern Australia, although he is yet to name all five species 

Over the last few months, Dr Otto has spotted five new species of peacock spider across southern Australia, although he is yet to name all five species 

The Jotus auripes spider has almost holographic bristles at the front and is bright orange at the back, and was spotted by Dr Otto on July 22

The Jotus auripes spider has almost holographic bristles at the front and is bright orange at the back, and was spotted by Dr Otto on July 22

The Jotus auripes spider has almost holographic bristles at the front and is bright orange at the back, and was spotted by Dr Otto on July 22

And he is yet to name the other four new species, which were found from June to August, although they all have very distinctive markings.  

Dr Otto now estimates that there are more than 60 species of Australian peacock spiders – 39 of which were named by himself and fellow spider expert, David Hill.

He added: 'In most peacock spider species — and the new ones are no exception — the males are strikingly coloured, and the patterns and colours are very distinctive, making it easy to distinguish one from another.'

Dr Otto now estimates that there are more than 60 species of Australian peacock spiders ¿ 39 of which were named by himself and fellow spider expert, David Hill

Dr Otto now estimates that there are more than 60 species of Australian peacock spiders ¿ 39 of which were named by himself and fellow spider expert, David Hill

Dr Otto now estimates that there are more than 60 species of Australian peacock spiders – 39 of which were named by himself and fellow spider expert, David Hill

This new species has an orange striped face, and a plume of blue and orange bristles behind it

This new species has an orange striped face, and a plume of blue and orange bristles behind it

This new species was spotted on June 26, but is yet to be named

This new species was spotted on June 26, but is yet to be named

Dr Otto said: 'In most peacock spider species — and the new ones are no exception — the males are strikingly coloured, and the patterns and colours are very distinctive, making it easy to distinguish one from another'

Peacock spiders are a type of jumping spider that live generally on the ground or in low bushes in Australia.

Each has a series of flaps round their abdomens that they raise up to display during courtship or when competing against rival males.

When a male peacock spider senses a female it begins the mating ritual by lifting its legs and flashing its stomach in a sequence that looks like a dance routine.

Peacock spiders are a type of jumping spider that live generally on the ground or in low bushes in Australia. Each has a series of flaps round their abdomens that they raise up to display during courtship or when competing against rival males

Peacock spiders are a type of jumping spider that live generally on the ground or in low bushes in Australia. Each has a series of flaps round their abdomens that they raise up to display during courtship or when competing against rival males

Peacock spiders are a type of jumping spider that live generally on the ground or in low bushes in Australia. Each has a series of flaps round their abdomens that they raise up to display during courtship or when competing against rival males

When a male peacock spider senses a female it begins the mating ritual by lifting its legs and flashing its stomach in a sequence that looks like a dance routine

When a male peacock spider senses a female it begins the mating ritual by lifting its legs and flashing its stomach in a sequence that looks like a dance routine

When a male peacock spider senses a female it begins the mating ritual by lifting its legs and flashing its stomach in a sequence that looks like a dance routine

Their courtship dances involve a complex series of ritualised movements as they waggle their legs in the air and vibrate their abdomens.

The females carefully study the colouring, vibrations and movements of the male to make sure the potential suitor is healthy and the correct species to mate with.

Once he has mated, he will repeat this dance with as many females as he can find and Maratus spiders can have multiple partners at one time. 

Their courtship dances involve a complex series of ritualised movements as they waggle their legs in the air and vibrate their abdomens

Their courtship dances involve a complex series of ritualised movements as they waggle their legs in the air and vibrate their abdomens

Their courtship dances involve a complex series of ritualised movements as they waggle their legs in the air and vibrate their abdomens

The females carefully study the colouring, vibrations and movements of the male to make sure the potential suitor is healthy and the correct species to mate with. Once he has mated, he will repeat this dance with as many females as he can find and Maratus spiders can have multiple partners at one time

The females carefully study the colouring, vibrations and movements of the male to make sure the potential suitor is healthy and the correct species to mate with. Once he has mated, he will repeat this dance with as many females as he can find and Maratus spiders can have multiple partners at one time

The females carefully study the colouring, vibrations and movements of the male to make sure the potential suitor is healthy and the correct species to mate with. Once he has mated, he will repeat this dance with as many females as he can find and Maratus spiders can have multiple partners at one time

 

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