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Lateral eyes direct principal eyes as jumping spiders track objects

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 10:03 authored by Elizabeth Jakob, Skye Long, Duane HarlandDuane Harland, Robert R. Jackson, Ashley Carey, Mary Searles, Adam Porter, Cristina Canavesi, Jannick Rolland
One way of circumventing the functional tradeoffs on eye design 1, 2 is to have different eyes for different tasks. For example, jumping spiders (Salticidae), known for elaborate, visually guided courtship and predatory behavior [3], view the same object simultaneously with two of their four pairs of eyes: the antero-lateral eyes (ALEs) and the principal eyes (reviewed in [2]; Figure 1A). The ALEs, with immobile lenses and retinas, wide fields of view, and hyperacute sensitivity to moving stimuli [4], are structurally distinct from the principal eyes, which have the best spatial acuity known for terrestrial invertebrates and can discern fine details of stationary objects [5]. Behind the immobile corneal lenses of the principal eyes are miniature, boomerang-shaped retinas with correspondingly small fields of view (Figure 1B). The principal-eye visual fields are greatly expanded and overlap because of eye movements: these retinas are at the proximal ends of long, moveable tubes within the spider’s cephalothorax [6]. By designing and using a specialized eyetracker, we tested whether principal-eye gaze direction is influenced by what the ALEs see. The principal eyes scanned stationary objects regardless of whether the ALEs were masked, but only when the ALEs were unmasked did the principal eyes smoothly track moving disks. The principal eyes, with high acuity but a narrow field of view, can thus precisely target moving stimuli, but only with the guidance of the secondary eyes.


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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd.


  • English

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Journal title

Current Biology




Jakob, E. M., Long, S. M., Harland, D. P., Jackson, R. R., Carey, A., Searles, M. E., Porter, A. H., … Rolland, J. P. (2018). Lateral eyes direct principal eyes as jumping spiders track objects. Current Biology, 28(18), R1092–R1093. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.065

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