Offbeat

By Nelson Groom 


A newly-discovered Australian spider scientists believe bears a striking resemblance to the Union Jack has gone viral after being announced just days after Kate Middleton revealed her pregnancy.

Jurgen Otto / Caters News

The adorable arachnid’s patriotic display, which doubles as a mating ritual, has driven the internet wild just days after news broke that another royal baby is on the way.

The pencil tip-sized Maratus cristatus species was recently discovered by 52-year-old Sydney biologist Jurgen Otto, who documents the quirky critters online.

It is one of five species recently discovered by self-proclaimed “peacock spiderman” Jurgen and his fellow expert David Hill in Western Australia.

The not so creepy-crawlies were previously propelled to viral fame after footage and images of males performing elaborate courtship dance captured hearts the world over.

Jurgen said: “When I was looking at the images I was struck by how the colours on the back resemble the Union Jack.

“People are usually scared of spiders, but they love these ones. They almost have a nature like a little puppy, with big round eyes.

Jurgen Otto / Caters News

“I think people also relate to them on another level too. They are very similar to us, they want to find a partner. People go to nightclubs and dance, this is how they do it.”

Jurgen, a mite biologist at the Australian Department of Agriculture in Sydney, began his love affair with the tiny dancers back in 2005, when he almost stepped on one.

Since then, he and David have discovered and named 39 species and sub-species of peacock spiders across Australia – and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Jurgen said every species is unique in their courtship dance and colours, which allow males to woo a female mate.

The performance involves the critter swaying from side to side and kicking its legs in the air as part of a bizarre mating ritual dance.

Jurgen Otto / Caters News

Jurgen believes the peacock spiders can help people overcome their arachnophobia with their adorable dance moves and exotic appearance.

He added: “I’ve always liked small things so I’m always looking out for them. It’s very addictive, and I’m trying to find all of them.”

For more of Jurgen’s peacock spider discoveries go HERE.