How scientists found 'Nemo,' Australia's newest dancing spider
The arachnid, formally named after the cartoon clownfish, is the latest in a wave of peacock spider discoveries.
In a wetland near South Australia’s Mount Gambier, Sheryl Holliday crouched in ankle-deep water, camera lens trained on blooming purple orchids a few feet away. Just as Holliday prepared to hit the shutter, she caught a glimpse of something tiny jumping out of the frame.
She didn’t know it on that clear day in November, but she’d just discovered an entirely new species of peacock spider, a group of little-known Australian jumping spiders known for vibrant colors and elaborate mating dances.
“I’ve been chasing peacock spiders for three or four years,” says Holliday, an ecological field officer for Nature Glenelg Trust and citizen scientist, but this one looked different. For one, its abdomen was drab, and