Eyeless Spider Adapted to Life in Darkness [LiveScience 2012-08-09]
[Photo] The eyeless huntsman spider, Sinopoda scurion. CREDIT: © Senckenberg
Huntsman spiders, like most spiders, are typically equipped with eight eyes. But researchers have discovered a new cave-dwelling species that ditched its peepers for a life in permanent darkness.
Peter Jäger, head of arachnology at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, reported that he found the spider in a cave in Laos about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from the gigantic Xe Bang Fai river cave. Named Sinopoda scurion, it is the first eyeless species of the 1,100 known huntsman spiders.
“We already knew of spiders of this genus from other caves, but they always had eyes and complete pigmentation," Jägersaid in a statement from Senckenberg. "Sinopoda scurion is the first huntsman spider without eyes."
He explained that this regression can be attributed to the spider's a life without daylight. Some of the spider's cave-dwelling cousins across Asia show similar transitions to cave adaptation, "from eight functioning eyes to forms with six, four and two lenses, right up to blind spiders," Jäger said.
His research was published in the journal Zootaxa.