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An ecological field officer for Nature Glenelg Trust, Sheryl Holliday, discovered a new peacock spider in Mount Gambier, South Australia, in November 2020 — the Maratus nemo. This peacock spider’s bright orange face and white stripe sort of resembles a clownfish.
During Holliday’s visit to Nangwarry and Mount McIntyre, she hand-collected four male and one female Maratus nemo specimens. Upon first sight, she knew there was something different about this spider. She just had a hard time identify the particular species.
He had a plain back but his orangey-red face is what stood out and I hadn’t seen anything like it before, so I knew it had to be a new one
Hoping to identify the spider she posted pictures onto Australian Jumping Spiders — a peacock spider appreciation page. These images caught the eye of Museums Victoria’s — Australia’s largest public museum organization —arachnologist Joseph Schubert.
He reached out to Holliday about her Nemo-faced peacock spider. She sent a couple of the specimens to Schubert for further examination. Schubert immediately began documenting the spiders he had been given — including the mating dance of the males. He also snapped a bunch of photographs of the Maratus nemo.
When the Nemo specimens died he “preserved them in ethanol and brought them back to the lab.” He then “studied the features which made them different from other spiders.”
As of March 26, 2021, there are 92 species of the peacock spider documented. Schubert discovered a peacock spider species in 2016. Since then he has ” described 13 species of peacock spiders and five species of their cousins Jotus… another genus of jumping spider.”
The new peacock spider species was named after the Pixar character from “Finding Nemo.” Images of the Nemo spider have been flooding the internet since its discovery was announced. Many people are excited over the new “cute” peacock spider.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Australian Geographic: Meet Nemo, a new species of peacock spider
Daily Mail: Meet Nemo! Adorable new species of peacock spider is named after the Pixar character thanks to its vibrant orange face with white stripes on it; by Jonathan Chadwick
Featured and Top Images Courtesy of Steve’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License