Compound Eye

Compound Eye

The many facets of science photography

The Case of the Lopsided Spider


I was entranced by this image when it appeared today in my facebook stream:

The evil eye? Or just a developmental anomaly?

Captured by the talented Malaysian photographer Liew Wk, the photo shows a developmental asymmetry in size between the anterior median eyes of this Asian jumping spider. I do not know what caused this imbalance. Perhaps each side is a molt out of sync, or perhaps this individual is a mosaic of male & female parts. I wonder if it has troubles catching prey, or if the little spider brain has adapted to deal with the unconventional visual signal.

Wk's image is the best sort of nature photograph. The spider appears bemused, as with a raised eyebrow, but the oddness also keeps us entrained to the underlying biology. So we linger.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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