Baby Jumping Spiders Can See Nearly as Well as Their Parents

Posted on August 1, 2019

Baby Jumping Spider next to Adult

A new study has revealed that baby jumping spiders can see nearly as well as their much larger parents. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Cincinnati.

The research found that baby spiders have the same number of photoreceptors as adults but packed differently to fit in a smaller space. The spider's 8,000 photoreceptors are also shaped like a long cylinder so they can fit more of them side by side.

Nathan Morehouse, a biologist with the University of Cincinnati, says in a statement, "Spiderlings can adopt prey-specific hunting strategies. They can solve problems. They're clever about navigating their environment. This suggests their eyes are providing as much high-quality information when they're small as when they're large. And that was a puzzle."

The researchers created a custom-made micro-ophthalmoscope to study the eyes of baby jumping spiders. UC biologist Elke Buschbeck says her lab's micro-ophthalmoscope is a "powerful, one-of-a-kind research tool that allows us to engage in several exciting projects that were not possible before."

The research paper on baby spider vision, "Growing tiny eyes: How juvenile jumping spiders retain high visual performance in the face of size limitations and developmental constraints," was published in the journal, Vision Research.

Image: Daniel Zurek