The spectacularly moving blue streaked Maratus licunxin spider which was found at Carvarvon Station recently has been named after Queensland Ballet artistic director, Li Cunxin.

The barely visible four-millimeter-long arachnida is one of more than 200 new spider species discovered as part of Australia’s largest species discovery program Bush Blitz. The Program is a partnership between The Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. Spiders discovered during the program end up at Queensland Museum with scientist Barbara Baehr. “Each and every day our scientists are describing new and exciting species that are found around the country,” Dr Baehr said.

Queensland Museum CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said Dr. Baehr has named more than 600 of the museum’s 4000 species collection.

The former dancer and now Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin caught Dr Baehr’s eye with his work on Mao’s Last Dancers. “As I sat and watched Queensland Ballet’s latest performance, I thought it was stunning, with a fairy-tale like essence that was so marvelous and sweet that it reminded me so much of the dancing of the peacock spiders,” Dr Baehr said.

Li said he was honored to have the spider named after him. “After watching its elaborate dance, I can see why Dr Baehr was inspired by the graceful dancers in our Company,” he said.

The species, which is often colorful across the belly is no stranger to spider followers. Internet stardom has formed over the past few years due to videos emerging of their vigorous and intricate movements. The public will be able to see some of these species with a new gallery opening in September called Wild State at the Queensland Museum.

By Steven Zoricic
Image via Queensland Ballet