Photography by Jurgen Otto

Peacock spiders, named for their resemblance to peacocks while they do their mating ritual, have been trending in popularity over the last few years. While their extraordinary display of colors and patterns is highly unique, they’re loved for more than just their colorful bodies.

Here are 6 surprising facts about peacock spiders that help explain why they’ve become so popular:

  1. They’re only found in Australia
    Peacock spiders are usually only found on the southern half of mainland Australia, making them a rare sighting.

  2. They’re about as small as a grain of rice
    These spiders are incredibly tiny. They’re only around 2.5-5mm in length!
  3. There are a wide variety of Peacock Spiders
    There are many types of peacock spiders. Each type spider has a different pattern or body shape. Many have only recently been discovered, and there may be many more left to be discovered!
  4. The female may eat the male
    The male spiders perform a mating ritual with their colorful bodies to persuade females to mate with them. If, however, the female rejects the male’s offer, she may end up eating him!
  5. Some have adorable nicknames
    Some peacock spiders have been given nicknames according to what they look like. For example, Skeletorus looks like a skeleton, Elephans has what looks like an elephant shape in his tail, and you’ll just have to see what Sparklemuffin looks like. Yes, you read that right – “Sparklemuffin”.
  6. They dance like no one’s watching
    Part of their mating ritual includes dancing back and forth. In addition to fanning out their colorful bodies, male peacock spiders also stick up their legs and dance for the female they’re trying to impress.

For other interesting creatures closer to home, check out our Notorious Bug Guide which features insects local to North Carolina.