An unreliable memoir

Eyes in the back of their heads

Salticus scenicus

Jumping spiders are a firm favourite with photographers and it’s easy to know why. Unlike most spiders, they stand their ground and stare you in the eye, sometimes even displaying to the camera using the elaborate visual language they employ if they happen to catch sight of their reflection in the lens. It’s hard to think of a more visually-oriented animal than this – and before you say “hawk”, remember that jumping spiders live in a 360 degree world and literally have eyes in the back of their head:

Salticus scenicus

It’s easy to think of the visual experience of these spiders as being like driving a car, with attention constantly switching from the read ahead, to the wing mirrors, to the rear view mirror. But that’s not how an insect nervous system works. Separate, quite autonomous ganglia process and integrate signals into one 360 degree picture – although with those huge front facing eyes staring at you though a macro lens it’s clear where most attention is fixed.

Zebra Spider, Salticus scenicus.

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One response

  1. Beautiful! 🙂

    Like

    March 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm