The joys of spidering

The joys of spidering

Jumping spider
Jumping spider, Salticidae Cytaea nimbata. Courtesy Rob Whyte

Citizen spider scientists come in all shapes and sizes but have one thing in common – the thrill of discovery. Take Jurgen and Griffin, for example.

Sydney-based Jurgen Otto identifies mites and ticks for a living, working for the Department of Agriculture, and only studies spiders in his spare time. Despite these constraints, he has discovered and named most of the 70 known peacock spider species (including one named after himself, Maratus ottoi) and was the first to record the colourful courtship display of Maratus volans, which has been likened to disco dancing and wowed millions on YouTube.

In contrast, Griffin is a Brisbane schoolboy who has loved spiders and other interesting arthropods since age four and was only six when he started using an app called Questagame to help him learn more about taxonomy.


Published in Cosmos Magazine’s print edition no. 83, June 2019.

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