To the untrained eye, this scarlet-tinged spider may look like your average arachnid, but for researcher Mark Wong it’s an incredibly rare find.

An ecologist at the Australian National University (ANU), Wong has encountered his fair share of spiders – in fact, it’s his job to seek them out. But his latest discovery is unlike anything he’s ever seen before. While searching for spiders in Australia’s Tallaganda National Park earlier this year, Wong flipped over a log and discovered a female funnel-web spider with a blood-red fang.

Red Fanged Spider 2 2015 09 08
Image © Mark Wong

"Almost instantly, the spider had rushed out of her silken lair with her legs raised and fangs greeting me with glistening venom," Wong told Live Science. "Taken aback by her colors, I knew there and then this was something special."

In case you’ve never seen a funnel-web spider (Atrax sutherlandi), they usually have glossy, black fangs and a brown underbelly. Here's a look at Wong's find beside a normal funnel-web to give you an idea:

Red Fanged Spider Funnel Web Comparison 2015 09 08
Images © Mark Wong

Although colour variation is common for some spider species, a red-fanged funnel-web is pretty much unheard of, so this arachnid has researchers pretty excited. According to David Rowell, Wong's supervisor and a professor in evolutionary genetics at ANU, funnel-web spiders can sometimes take on different hues. "Funnel-webs after they've moulted can be a pale green, then darken up. Or when females are full of eggs, their abdomens can look purple," he told Mashable. But this is the first instance in 35 years of study that the arachnid expert has seen a funnel-web with a ruby fang.

So what’s up with the weird colouration? Scientists are still trying to figure that one out. According to Wong, funnel-webs do on occasion show off a bit of red. The species has the genes for scarlet pigmentation, so perhaps this specimen is just showing it off in more dramatic fashion. Alternatively, the red-coloured fangs may be a feature of all funnel-web spiders, but the redness is usually masked by more dominant black pigmentation. It’s possible that in this case, the black pigments didn’t show up for some reason, so the spider’s true colours could gleam through.

Although the scarlet-fanged funnel-web makes for striking photos, she’s probably under-appreciated by her own kind. "As far as we know, only the males wander around, and we think they locate the females by pheromone cues, not visual searching," Wong points out.

Your friends might not see your unique hue, but we still think you’re pretty, red fang.

Red Fanged Spider 3 2015 09 08
Image © Mark Wong