Well, maybe not ever. There are some pretty awesome spiders. I mean, have you seen the “Happy Face Spider”? Technically called the Theridion grallator, the Happy Face Spider is a tiny 5mm spider only found in Hawaii.
But these two newly identified species of arachnid are pretty freakin’ adorable. You know, for those of us without a crippling fear of spiders.
This fine specimen is Sparklemuffin.
Fine. It’s scientific name is Maratus jactatus, but its nickname is way better.
And this Halloween refugee is Skeletorus:
You know, in case you couldn’t guess which was which from their nicknames. And for those of you with arachnophobia, don’t freak out just yet as these colorful fellows are tiny: between 3 and 7 millimeters. For some perspective, the full stop at the end of this sentence is just about 1 millimeter.
Not surprisingly, the tiny spiders were found in Australia – home of so many of the world’s terrifying and bizarre spiders. I’m sure we all remember the bird eating spider. No?! Let me remind you! This spider is eating a BIRD. Freak out NOW.
You know what though? From someone who grew up in the spider zone, bird eating spider is way less terrifying than Redback spiders. Redbacks are tiny (3 – 4mm), live pretty much everywhere (including your shoes), and can kill you with their venom. That’s right, it’s an INVISIBLE DEATH SPIDER.
And do not get me started on funnel-web spiders.
The funnel-web prefers to live in small holes in your yard. Because it can. It’s also a toss up as to whether more people are injured by the bite of a Funnel Web or by setting their yards on fire trying to get rid of the damn things. Don’t believe me? There is a whole story about the nudist who caught fire this way. Note that what made this story interesting was not that he set himself and his yard on fire trying to kill a spider, but that he did it in the NUDE.
Anywho, we should probably get back to the tiny, adorable, not venomous spiders found in southeast Queensland by grad student Madeline Girard. And yes, it was on purpose: Girard studies communication and sexual selection in peacock spiders at Berkeley.1
Skeletorus and Sparklemuffin are new species of this larger group of peacock spiders, best known for having brightly colored abdominal flaps. Although, you may be more familiar with one particular member of the group because it is the only spider that rocks out to the Village People’s YMCA:
At least it’s the only spider we know of that loves the Village People. Who knows, maybe most spiders are super into disco?
Frankly, the Mirror spider (also found in Australia) kind of looks like a disco ball, so what do we know?
Featured Image Credit: Jürgen Otto
peacock spiders are more formally known as the genus Maratus ↩