Peacock spiders

These Australian jumping spiders may be small, but they are also the most spectacular, colourful and high energy spiders in the world.

Fast Facts

Latin name: Maratus spp.

Notable feature: Intricate brightly coloured tails and a wavy dance

Where in the UK: Only found in Australia and China

The greatest attribute of jumping spiders is their advanced eyes.  Spiders have eight, occasionally six, eyes, but they are generally quite simple organs, specks of black or silver that can detect light and dark, shadow and movement and some fairly rudimentary blurry images, even at low light levels.  The two central front eyes of the jumping spider are much more advanced – large, fronted by spherical lenses, with an internal focussing mechanism and complex four layered retina.  All this means that a jumping spider can see fine detail, in colour and at different distances.

Clear vision evolved as a predatory weapon, the jumping spider can see its prey from metres away, creep up and then pounce from a distance of over 20 times its body length to deliver an instant fatal bite.