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Good Moms Come in All Shapes and Sizes


Female peacock spiders stay with their young in an egg sac until they can fend for themselves. 

The peacock spider (Maratus sp.) is native to Australia and mostly found in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the continent. It owes its name to the male’s brightly colored abdomen flaps, which it displays in elaborate dances to court less colorful females. The female will lay 5–13 eggs inside a small, silken egg sac. She stays inside this sac around four weeks without food or water to protect her young. Although the eggs hatch in only two weeks, the babies are unable to see and feed on their own. So their mother watches over them until they can take care of themselves. Then they all leave the sac and part ways. This baby peacock spider has just emerged from the egg sac along with its hungry mother. It’s only about 1.5 mm long, has fully functioning eyes, and can feed itself for the first time.

Image courtesy of Jürgen Otto, PhD, jurgenotto@optusnet.com.au



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