If you don't think spiders are super-cute, then you've probably never seen Maratus personatus perform its very elaborate, oh-so-adorable mating dance.
The males of this newly described species of peacock spider get seriously groovy when wooing lady spiders, and, luckily for arachnophiles, one biologist thinks their dance moves are worthy of recording (and then setting to funky music). Jürgen Otto, a mite biologist and peacock spider enthusiast at the Australian Department of Agriculture in Sydney, maintains a YouTube channel devoted to sharing the mating dances of these spiders in a way that even arachnophobes can appreciate.
Otto's most recent YouTube video features the leg clapping and pedipalp shaking of one M. personatus, or Blueface peacock spider — a species first discovered back in 2013. Otto and his colleague, David Hill, a spider researcher in South Carolina, described this little critter for the first time July 28 in the open-access journal Peckhamia. [See Incredible Photos of Peacock Spiders]
There are a lot of reasons why M. personatus could be called cute. For one thing, it's tiny. Males are only about an eighth of an inch long (they range in size from 0.15 to 0.18 inches). Then there's the whole superhero mask thing they have going on; males have a blue band encircling their heads that contrasts nicely with the black-and-white stripes lining the rest of the body.