For the first time, scientists say they have made a direct link between the enormous eyes of a net-casting spider and its ability to hunt at night, something implied in the past but never tested.
In a new study, researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wanted to see how the spider Deinopis spinosa fared without its two biggest eyes (it has eight, but the ones you see in the picture are its biggest, the posterior median eyes).
They temporarily covered the arachnid's large eyes and then compared its foraging success at night with spiders whose prodigious peepers had not been covered. It turned out the spiders with all of their eyes available for duty were able to capture prey 3.5 times more often than the spiders whose vision was impaired.
Giant Spiders To Freak You Out: Photos
Net-casting spiders, the genus Deinopis, get their name thanks to their hunting style. They make small, detached webs they hold (see picture below) and drop down from above onto unsuspecting prey - "casting" their nets, as it were, to ensnare their meals.