‘Finding Nemo’ inspires the name of the orange and white peacock spider

A new species of colorful and dancing peacock spider has an endearing orange face striped with white, which led the arachnologist who described the spider to call him “Nemo,” after the famous Pixar Clown fish.

Unlike the brave character in the 2003 animated film “Finding Nemo,” the little spider was not lost – she was simply unknown to science. Australian photographer and avid spider Sheryl Holliday captured images of the spider last year and shared them on Facebook. This brought the orange-faced arachnid to the attention of Joseph Schubert, a spider. taxonomiste at the Victoria Museums in Melbourne, Australia.

“I was like, ‘Oh, wow, it looks like this might be a new species’, so I got in touch with her. [Holliday], and she ended up sending me specimens, “Schubert, an undergraduate student in the invertebrate diagnostic lab at Murdoch University, said in a press release. At the time, Schubert had identified 13 other species of peacock spiders in the Maratus genre, and he named seven in 2020, the statement said.

A report: Amazing photos of peacock spiders

Holliday, an ecological field worker for Nature Glenelg Trust, found the spider in a swampy wetland ecosystem near Mount Gambier, South Australia, and she collected five individuals – four males and one female – in November 2020 , which she sent to Schubert. He published a description of the spider, naming it Maratus nemo, March 25 in the newspaper Evolutionary systematics.

As in other species of peacock spiders, M. nemoBright colors only appear in males, while predominantly brown females look like other Maratus females. Identification of M. nemo females may therefore depend on whether they are near a M. nemo man, Schubert wrote in the study. Males have dark brown bodies sprinkled with white, and touches of orange appear near their feet and leg joints. Their faces are a brilliant orange, with a horizontal white stripe below the eyes and shorter vertical white stripes at the top of the head.

Maratus nemo is the 92nd species of peacock spider described in Australia. Most of them have been identified over the past decade. (Image credit: Victoria Museums, photo by Joseph Schubert)

Each spider is about the size of a grain of rice, with males measuring no more than 4.17 inches (4.25 millimeters) long and females measuring up to 0.2 inches (5 mm) in length. long, according to the study. Male peacock spiders are known for their elaborate parade dances, and M. nemo is no exception. Schubert observed a man who began his dance by lifting one leg and “slowly waving it in a partially bent position.” Then, as a female approached, the male wiggled both front legs while enthusiastically rocking his posterior, creating “audible vibrations” on the leaf he was dancing on, Schubert reported.

However, this was only a partial display in an artificial environment. “In the wild, males can exhibit more complete courtship with several modes of courtship,” Schubert wrote in the study.

To date, researchers have named 92 species of Australian peacock spider; of these, 76 species have been described since 2010, according to the study. Find and identify species unknown to Australia, such as M. nemo, is more urgent than ever, as much of the continent’s wildlife is threatened by habitat loss, Forest fires and the widespread use of pesticides, Schubert said in the statement.

“Only about 30 percent of Australia’s biodiversity has [been] formally scientifically documented, so that means we could lose species before we even know they exist, ”said Schubert.

Originally posted on 45Seconds.fr.

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