Meet the Nemo peacock spider

This little Australian cutie is the size of a grain of rice and looks like a clown fish crossed with an alien invader
"I'm ready for my closeup!" That is one adorable spider! (Museums Victoria, photo by Joseph Schubert)

Can spiders be cute?

It is a question that has vexed philosophers, biologists, and arguing siblings for generations.

Can not! Can so! Can NOT! Can ...

Well, based on brand new evidence, you can officially put us on Team Can SO! And after you see this little critter, we think you'll agree!

Please meet Maratus nemo, otherwise known as a brand new species of peacock spider. And as you may have guessed, this particular species got its name because of its striking resemblance to a certain movie character clownfish—Nemo from Finding Nemo.

You could say that they just found the Nemo peacock spider, too! Let's take a closer look.

Jumping for joy

Thanks in part to research by citizen scientists, the numbers of known peacock spiders in Australia are climbing rapidly. M. nemo is the 93rd known species, up from only 15 species in 2011! (Museums Victoria, photo by Joseph Schubert)

To be clear, only the male spiders have orange faces and green eyes. This is because—as with all other peacock spiders (not to mention birds like the peacock)—the males use these attractive colours and patterns to impress potential female mates. The female Nemo spiders are brown and grey, which is very similar to other Maratus (peacock) spiders.

So the male spiders may be the lucky ones who get to wear the fancy suits. But they still have to work to impress females by shaking their booties and dancing up a storm!

Though we don't have any footage of M. nemo to show you right now, we think that this collection of other dancing peacock spiders will illustrate our point. Hit the dance floor, spidey!

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