Bunbury resident discovers new peacock spider species

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
Maratus Suae
Camera IconMaratus Suae Credit: Sunayana Rammohan

A Bunbury resident has discovered one of seven new species of Australia’s colourful “dancing” peacock spider.

Last winter, Sunayana Rammohan took a photo of a peacock spider in Leschenault and realised it was a species she had not seen before.

Mrs Rammohan said the spiders were tiny, about 4mm-5mm fully grown, and she enjoyed the challenge of finding them.

“It’s like looking for a needle in a hay stack because their habitat is mostly leaf litter or beach vegetation, so it’s very hard to see them,” she said.

Bunbury resident and macro-photographer Sunayana Rammohan discovered a new type of peacock spider.
Camera IconBunbury resident and macro-photographer Sunayana Rammohan discovered a new type of peacock spider. Credit: Ailish Delaney/Bunbury Herald

A research paper by Museums Victoria legacy registration officer Joseph Schubert was published in the journal, Zootaxa, and described the new species.

Mr Schubert named the spiders and took inspiration from the spiders’ locality, colouration or the people who discovered the species.

“Some of the species in this paper were discovered by citizen scientists who documented the localities and sent images to me — their help is so important for this kind of research,” Mr Schubert said.

The spider Mrs Rammohan discovered was named after her, Maratus Suae.

Maratus Suae
Camera IconMaratus Suae Credit: Sunayana Rammohan

Mrs Rammohan said it was a big honour to have the spider named after her.

“It’s about my contribution to science, but also giving the name to an unknown species because we’re adding to the biodiversity,” she said.

Mrs Rammohan said amazing creatures were hidden in plain sight.

“What amazes me is it’s all going on right under our noses,” she said.

“It’s all happening but we just can’t see them if we are not conditioned to.”

Mrs Rammohan’s macro-photography can be viewed at her Instagram page, TheInsectDiary.

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