If you were a male peacock jumping spider you’d be really really tiny (albeit, quite gorgeous) and have to dance and sing for your life to find a date.
No seriously… if he doesn’t perform to her liking, she’ll eat him.

Ahhh, romance. Isn’t it sweet?

Yeah… you read that right. If the male peacock jumping spider doesn’t impress the female with his song and dance, she will stalk and eat him instead of mating with him (and even then, mating doesn’t mean life is a guarantee).

But this is all actually fairly recent knowledge! It seems that no one had really looked closely at their dance until Jurgen Otto, the fellow who took that cute photo above, published a short video of the courtship ritual in 2011. Then research took off!  1

Here’s a taste of their fancy dancing to the 1977 hit, “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

So, what are the male peacock spiders even saying in their entertaining displays to their female counterparts?

And what is she looking for? Well, scientists are trying to figure this out. Here’s SciFri in the lab at the University of California, Berkeley with Madeline Girard, who studies these tiny dancers:

Via: SciFri 3

This effort to bring attention to oneself really isn’t something unique to the jumping spider… but they do happen to be masters at it. And imagine the female spider’s view of this colorful dance, with her species’ detail-oriented eyesight!

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How tiny are these dancers?

Peacock jumping spiders (Maratus volans) are a part of what’s considered the most abundant spider family in the world. 4

With at least 4,000 species of Salticidae, or the Jumping Spider family, known to us, you’re bound to find a species near you 5, but you’ll only come across the eccentric peacock jumping spider if you’re in Australia or China.

Even still, you’re going to have to keep your eyes peeled because regardless of how brightly colored they may be, most are still only 5mm long! 6 So small!  I mean come on,  just look at this one little guy compared to a fingernail:

Image: Male Jumping Spider looking very small next to a fingernail!

Source: Jurgen Otto // Flickr

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If you’d like to know what it’s like to be the first person to really look closely at these show-stealing creatures, Jenny Vu of 1000 Natural Wonders sat down with Jurgen to talk about his experience then published their chat here!

One of our other favorite channels, Deep Look, has also done an amazing video all about the male jumping spiders dance. You can find it here! 

There are some really cool animals out there!

Make sure you share this article with a friend who may have forgotten that spiders are actually super cute. Gotta start small, right?

Or maybe you have a friend who needs a little inspiration on how to approach someone with flair or even a few tips on starting a conversation with a stranger.

If that’s the case, you may want to look at this article as well…

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Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams 

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  1. “Peacock Spiders.” Peacock Spiders | Buglife. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2018. <https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/peacock-spiders>.
  2. “Peacock Spider “Stayin’ Alive”.” YouTube. Peacockspiderman, 01 Sept. 2017. Web. 12 Apr. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPh_Gi7PCqs>.
  3. “Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider.” YouTube. SciFri, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq-r20mlGes>.
  4. “Jumping Spider.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_spider>.
  5. https://www.orkin.com/other/spiders/jumping-spiders/
  6. “Peacock Spiders.” Peacock Spiders | Buglife. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2018. <https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/peacock-spiders>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.