Q: Maratus Volans? Why such a name? Can you fly?
Maratus Volans: (laughs) Only in my dreams! Volans, indeed, means flying in Latin, you’re right. My other names are Attus volans and Saitis volans. Rebranding, I thinks. But I don’t complain. Personally, I like to be called Peacock Spider..
Q: Where is your birthplace?
Maratus volans: All my closest relatives reside in Australia — New South Wales and Queensland. Some of us settled in Tasmania. I hope you do not mind my accent? (laughs)Q: You aren’t all that huge either.
Maratus Volans: I’m about 4 millimeters long. Most of our species measure around an eighth of an inch. Size doesn’t mater, really, does it?
Q: What is your winning strategy? What do you have to do in order to reach your ultimate goal of getting the subject of your affection and mate with her?
Maratus Volans: I have to be in great shape. Bright and elegant, I have to stand out among the other males. She should have noticed and appreciated my appearance. I lead a healthy lifestyle, jog every day, climb trees and, believe me or not, on occasion, even raft down the river. Bungee jumping, Pilates, Capoeira and, of course, dancing — all of these activities are making me very competitive if not absolutely irresistible. I am also a professional weaver and an excellent cook.
Q: You are irresistible!
Maratus Volans: I do not want to boast, but all members of my species have an enviable internal hydraulic system — the ability to expand our limbs and, well, other extremities, as a result of blood pressure changes. A very valuable quality, especially in males, won’t you say? (smiles).
Q: How would you start your mating game?
Maratus Volans: People often underestimate an eye contact. One meaningful look can say a whole lot — to convey your intentions, for once. Q: When you realize she noticed you, what do you do next?
Maratus Volans: To captivate her, I behave confidently and assertively. I move toward her with a graceful swag. I demonstrate that I’m in great physical and spiritual shape, an individual of impeccable morals. I suck up my tummy and raise up a pair of my legs. This makes me look taller and slimmer. Well, I need to impress her, don’t I? Then I spread my legs just so, to let her know I’m very interested and mean business. It’s like saying, “Hello there, I really like you, babe!” Sometimes, to enhance the effect, I raise the third pair of legs. When she approaches close enough to observe me, I start dancing, vigorously and seductively. I imagine that she is the only one in the world for me, and to seduce her is a matter of life and death.
Q: Interesting — and quite unfair, too — that in the world of insects males are colorful, creative and adventurous, whereas females are quite the opposite. Among people, the roles are reversed — females are often colorful…
Maratus volans: There are pros and cons in this. In case of failure, male humans can back away and try again and again. We, insects, aren’t given second chances. If we fail — that’s effing it.
Q: Anything else you want to say to our readers?
Maratus volans: First of all, I want to address people affected by arachnophobia. Please watch my best dance moves below. The two clips are identical, except for the music. Am I not a good dancer? My hope is that you’d change your mind about us, spiders. Jurgen Otto is the only man (as far as we, spiders, know) who has captured a footage of our courtship dance. He documented, recorded and shared video of our terrific breeding ritual — it has even won over people who previously hated spiders. Enjoy! Remember: Size isn’t important — dancing is!