Discovery: Spiders Use 3-D Vision To Catch Prey

Discovery: Spiders Use 3-D Vision To Catch Prey

Discovery: Spiders Use 3-D Vision To Catch Prey

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Jan. 27 2012 5:11 PM

Discovery: Spiders Use 3-D Vision To Catch Prey

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(A spider is pictured in its web at Budar village, around 600 kilometres west of Kathmandu on November 21, 2011.)

Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

It’s the kind of Spidy-sense even Peter Parker would marvel at. Researchers in a new study of the Adanson's jumping spider confirmed that the arachnid has an unusual form of depth perception—it can see in 3-D!

These critters, like all jumping spiders, have eight eyes, the largest two having the best vision. Scientists noticed that the retina of these eyes have not one, but four distinct layers of light gathering cells, each creating a image more blurry than the layer below. Instead of this resulting in fuzzy spider myopia, the insect's rudimentary brain combines the varying images from most sharp to most out of focus and enables the spider to gauge the distance of objects, like a nice juicy fruit fly. Think of it like the blue and red lines you’ve seen in 3-D art, which combine with the help of glasses.

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Those of you suffering from arachnophobia … be even more afraid.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.