A Queensland Museum arachnologist has helped identify five new species of tiny brushed jumping spiders the size of a grain of rice.
The group includes a spider named after Karl Lagerfeld. Arachnologist Danilo Harms, said the spider had a distinct look that was reminiscent of the late fashion designer.
“Jotus karllagerfeldi is a black and white spider which we looked at and instantly thought of Karl Lagerfeld and his signature look, as the spider has large black eyes, which reminded us of sunglasses and its black and white front legs were reminiscent of Lagerfeld’s kent collar,” he said.
Barbara Baehr, another member of the team that discovered the new spiders, said more than 70% of Australia’s spiders remain unclassified.
Some 3,500 species of Australian spiders have been classified but scientists believe that number will eventually soar past 10,000 species.
Baehr, Harms and Joseph Schubert from Monash University have discovered five new species.
“Jumping spiders are among some of the most beautiful spiders in Australia, yet almost nothing is known about their diversity and taxonomic identity,” Baehr said. “These tiny spiders are quick to capture the hearts of the public and naturalists.”
Four of the five new species are from Queensland and one is from New South Wales. At only a few millimetres, they can be difficult to spot.
The male brushed jumping spider is known for an elaborate mating dance involving a brush of long and often colourful setae on their legs (like butterflies).
The five are close relatives of the Australian peacock spiders, which also perform courtship dances for females.
The new species are:
* Jotus albimanus – white-handed brushed jumping spider. Found: New England national park, New South Wales
* Jotus fortiniae. Found: Cape York Peninsula, Quinkan Country, Queensland
* Jotus karllagerfeldi – Karl Lagerfeld’s jumping spider. Found: Lake Broadwater via Dalby, Queensland
* Jotus moonensis – Mount Moon brushed jumping spider. Found: Mount Moon, Queensland
* Jotus newtoni – Mark Newton’s brushed jumping spider. Found: Lake Broadwater via Dalby, Queensland