Check Out This See-Through Spider
The yellow amycine jumping spider from Canandé, Ecuador, has a remarkably transparent exoskeleton. Its giant, main eyes are like cone-shaped tubes that extend backwards from the face, and you can actually see the cones move as the spider looks from one direction to another.
Here’s a video from Wayne Maddison of the University of British Columbia. The black spots on the head are the smaller side eyes.
Unlike insects’ compound eyes, spiders have simple eyes: a retina with light-detecting cells under a lens made of a layer of cuticle. To help them focus, jumping spiders have an additional lens at the end of their primary-eye tube that’s flexible. As Wired describes it, jumping spiders have basically built themselves two little telescopes. Their retinas are layered with cells that are each specialized for a different type of vision, giving it excellent acuity and full color perception. Combined with the smaller side eyes, these spiders have nearly 360o vision.
If you’re not convinced that jumping spiders are adorable, look this beautiful new species of jumping peacock spider described earlier this month.
Image/video: Wayne Maddison Lab