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Maratus Karsch, 1878


Maratus is an Australian genus with 70 described species. These can be divided into two groups: the peacock spiders, those whose males have moderately to spectacularly-coloured or shiny upper abdomens, ornamented larger third legs and sometimes modified spinnerets used in displays; and a second group of misplaced species which came into Maratus as part of the synonymised Lycidas and are yet to be revised out. As Maratus is a genus with considerable popular and scientific interest, new species are added frequently. A dubious Chinese species ‘Lycidasfurvus is one of the species brought in with the synonymised Lycidas.

Maratus is part of a group of Australian genera (Maddison et al 2008) related to the Old World genus Saitis (Zhang and Maddison 2015). Maratus is closely related to Barraina, Hypoblemum, Jotus, Prostheclina and Saratus. Further information on the genus and described species can be found in Otto and Hill, 2017, Richardson and Żabka (2017) and Whyte and Anderson (2017).


Maratus is a small to medium-sized spider, body length 2 to 6 mm. Most males have a brightly-patterned, roughly-rectangular or ovate abdomen often with side flaps or other protuberances extended during mating dances. Females have ovate abdomens. The head, viewed from above, is rectangular with rounded sides or pear-shaped with the widest point behind the posterior lateral eyes. The carapace is high, the highest point level with the posterior lateral eyes. Chelicerae have a single (unident) sharp or blunt retromarginal tooth and two promarginal teeth. The legs are relatively short except for the long and often fringed third legs in males. The fourth leg is longest in the females.  

In Maratus the palpal tibia has a single short, pointed  retro-lateral tibial apophysis. The tegulum is long, with a well-developed proximal lobe. A thin, coiled embolus forms an anticlockwise circle in the distal third of the tegulum and is accompanied by an associated sclerite.

Females have two epigynal atria with sclerotised guides. The copulatory openings are near the centre (medial) or towards the lateral edges of the atria. There may be a variously-sized diverticulum or proximal receiver joining the insemination duct close to the opening. The insemination ducts then follow short winding paths before joining the anterior edge of round spermathecae, posterior to the atria, close to the epigastric fold.


This genus has been found in litter, under rocks, on grass and ferns, under bark and in foliage. It has been found in habitats ranging from desert, through tropical rainforest to cool temperate forest and snow gum woodlands. Members of the genus (in the strict sense) are well known as Peacock Spiders. The males have species-specific, brightly-coloured, abdomens which, with the third pair of legs, are in most species raised as part of complex courtship rituals, each species having a unique courtship display.


Maratus is found throughout Australia, including Tasmania. It has also been reported from Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.


Davies, V.T. & Żabka, M. 1989. Illustrated keys to the genera of jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae) in Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 27, 189-266. 

Maddison, W.P., Bodner, M.R. & Needham, K.M. 2008. Salticid spider phylogeny revisited, with the discovery of a large Australian clade (Araneae: Salticidae). Zootaxa 1893, 49-64.

Otto, J. C. & Hill, D.E. 2017. Catalogue of the Australian peacock spiders (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophryini: Maratus, Saratus), version 2. Peckhamia 148.2: 1-23. [This catalogue is updated in Peckhamia as new species are described.]

Richardson, B.J. & Żabka, M. 2016. Salticidae. Arachnida: Araneomorphae. Canberra, Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study, at

Whyte, R. & Anderson, G. 2017. A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia. CSIRO Publishing: Clayton.

Żabka, M. 1987. Salticidae (Araneae) of Oriental, Australian and Pacific Regions, II. Genera Lycidas and Maratus. Annales Zoologici, Warszawa 40 451-482.

Zhang, Junxia & Maddison, W.P. 2015. Genera of euophryine jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae), with a combined molecular-morphological phylogeny. Zootaxa 3938: 1-147.

* The information sheet should be interpreted in the context of the associated diagrams and photographs. Diagrams explaining anatomical terms can be found in the ‘Salticidae’ pictures at the beginning of the list of genera.

Peacock spiders

Maratus albus

Maratus amabilis

Maratus anomalus

Maratus australis

Maratus avibus

Maratus bubo

Maratus caerulus

Maratus calcitrans

Maratus chrysomelas

Maratus clupeatus

Maratus digitatus

Maratus elephans

Maratus eliasi

Maratus fimbriatus

Maratus harrisi

Maratus hortorum

Maratus jacatus

Maratus julianneae

Maratus karrie

Maratus kiwirrkurra

Maratus leo

Maratus licunxini

Maratus linnaei

Maratus literatus

Maratus lobatus

Maratus madelinae

Maratus michaelorum

Maratus montanus

Maratus mungaich

Maratus nigromaculatus

Maratus ottoi

Maratus pardus

Maratus pavonis

Maratus plumosus

Maratus proszynski

Maratus purcellae

Maratus rainbow (or Maratus splendens)

Maratus robinsoni

Maratus sarahae

Maratus sceletus

Maratus speciosus

Maratus speculiferus

Maratus spicatus

Maratus tasmanicus

Maratus tessellatus

Maratus velutinus

Maratus vespertilio

Maratus volans

Maratus watagansi

Generic placement uncertain

Maratus anomaliformis

Maratus bitaeniatus

Maratus chlorophthalmus

Maratus dialeucus

Maratus griseus

Maratus heteropogon

Maratus karschi

Maratus kochi

Maratus michaelseni

Maratus minutus

Maratus nigriceps

Maratus obscurior

Maratus piliger

Maratus pilosus

Maratus scutulatus

Maratus vittatus