This iridescent blue spider is a new species of tarantula that turned up in a Thailand mangrove forest. It's been dubbed the bamboo culm tarantula (Taksinus bambus) because, you guess it, the spider lives inside bamboo stalks.
Amazingly, the spider's body is not actually blue.
"The secret behind the vivid blue coloration of our tarantula lies not in the presence of blue pigments, but rather in the unique structure of their hair, which incorporates nanostructures that manipulate light to create this striking blue appearance," says entomologist Narin Chomphuphuang of Khon Kaen University.
Blue is one of the rarest colors to appear in nature, which makes blue coloration in animals particularly fascinating. To appear blue, an object needs to absorb very small amounts of energy while reflecting high-energy blue light. Generating molecules capable of absorbing this energy is complex, making blue in nature relatively rare. What's even more fascinating is its ability to not only display blue but also a beautiful violet hue, creating a remarkable iridescent effect.
"This species was previously found on the commercial tarantula market. There, it was known as the "Chilobrachys sp. Electric Blue Tarantula" but no documentation existed describing its distinctive features or natural habitat," Narin said.
(Thanks, Chanté McCormick!)