By Tim Binnall
A scientist in Australia has identified seven new peacock spider species including one which bears an uncanny resemblance to Van Gogh's iconic painting Starry Night. The discoveries were reportedly documented by Joseph Schubert, a 22-year-old researcher who has become something of a specialist when it comes to the colorful and diminutive arachnids. While the young man is credited with scientifically establish the existence of these newfound species, he was quick to note that it was really a collaborative effort.
"A lot of the species are actually discovered by citizen scientists who'd documented the locality data and taken photos of the spiders and sent images to me," Shubert explained in a press release. As such, he said, several of the seven creatures have been named after the people who originally found them. However, one of the species was given a special name due to its remarkable appearance.
According to Shubert, he drove seven hours across Australia to document what he identified as his favorite of the new species, the Maratus constellatus. "The patterns on the abdomen to me just look so much like Starry Night by van Gogh," he marveled, "hence the name constellatus which means 'starry' in Latin." Shubert's haul increases the total number of peacock spider species to 85 and the researcher suspects that there are many more breathtaking versions of the creatures waiting to be found.