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Karl Lagerfeld Spider among 5 new species discovered in Australia

Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 3, 2019
Australian scientists announced they have identified five new species of tiny jumping spiders and named one after late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld due to its eyes like sunglasses and black-and-white legs.
Jotus karllagerfeldi
World   Jotus karllagerfeldi
The discovery of the spiders which are only a few millimeters wide was made by Queensland Museum arachnologist Barbara Baehr, along with Joseph Schubert of Melbourne’s Monash University and Danilo Harms of the University of Hamburg in Germany.

“Jotus karllagerfeldi is a black and white spider which we looked at and instantly thought of Karl Lagerfeld and his signature look, as the spider has large black eyes, which reminded us of sunglasses and its black and white front legs were reminiscent of Lagerfeld’s kent collar,” Harms said in a joint statement.

Baehr said: “Jumping spiders are among some of the most beautiful spiders in Australia, yet almost nothing is known about their diversity and taxonomic identity.”

Four of the five new species discovered are known to inhabit the state of Queensland in northeastern Australia, and one in neighboring New South Wales.

The Jotus albimanus is found in New England National Park, New South Wales; while the Queensland species Jotus fortiniae is found in Cape York Peninsula; Jotus karllagerfeldi and Jotus newtoni at Lake Broadwater; and Jotus moonensis at Mount Moon.

“These tiny spiders are quick to capture the hearts of the public and naturalists. Because of their attractive colors they are widely photographed and feature heavily in social media, but many museums hold very few actual specimens,” Baehr said.

The males have species-specific color combinations that range from black-and-white to colorful variations and iridescent turquoise and orange patterns.

“The males perform unique dance rituals with their brilliantly decorated first pair of legs to attract females,” Schubert said.

“These five new species are close relatives of the Australian peacock spiders which also perform courtship dances for females. This courtship behavior makes them a crowd favorite and has popularized jumping spiders worldwide,” Schubert added.

Queensland Museum CEO Jim Thompson announced that four of the five species are already in the museum’s collection and were waiting to be described, and urged people to provide pictures to help in this scientific endeavor.