Spider YouTubes are a tricky business. There are many promising titles — ‘Jumping Spider Got Cute’, ‘Strangely Adorable Spider’, ‘Wolf Spider In Love’ — but no matter how innocuous the clip, you know you’re only one click away from ‘Goliath Bird-Eating Spider Breeding‘ and then it is just THANKYOU BUT NOPE, SHUT IT DOWN.
So it is with due caution that I post ‘Peacock Spider 7′, one of the only pieces of footage that exists of a rare, 4mm-long Australian jumping spider and his bizarrely hypnotic mating dance.
The spider has huge eyes, dog-like front paws and elegantly long, come-hither hind legs, which he waves in the air like semaphore flags, as if spelling out the words: “Hey there! Hello! I am about to present to you my multi-coloured, peacock-like flaps! You should look at them closely and with awe, as I dance from left to right like an extremely erotic crab! Love me! LOVE ME!”
And with a butt-shake and a flap-waggle, he creeps onto his lady-friend and bewitches her all night long.
The Peacock Spider was first filmed by entomologist Jurgen Otto in 2011, who found it in the undergrowth of bushlands in Sydney; the one above, though, was filmed in coastal dune habitats near Perth.