Pest Control Blog

How many eyes do spiders have?

December 29th, 2017 by Mike MacDonald in Pest Control Services, Spiders

Most people think of spiders as having 8 legs and 8 eyes. Do all spiders have only 8 eyes, and exactly how many eyes do spiders have?

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Common house spiders and how many eyes do they have

There are several common types of house spiders. Each have their own unique characteristics as well as configuration of eyes.

Domestic house spider

This spider has a typical color scheme from dark orange to brown. Also known as barn funnel weavers, these spiders have 8 eyes.

This allows them to sense the slightest movement from their prey or from potential threats. Their sight is not very clear, so they tend to sense movement more than anything else.

Brown House Spider

This spider, also called a Cupboard Spider, is found throughout the world and is another common spider you may find in your home. These spiders can be confused with Black Widow spiders because of their similar shape and size. Their color tends to be brown, but they can sometimes appear to be black as well.

The main thing that separates them from Black Widow spiders is that they lack the red hourglass markings on their abdomen that signifies a Black Widow spider. These spiders have 8 eyes as well.

Black House Spiders

These are common house spiders as well, but they are typically found in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These spiders are venomous, but as with most spiders, they aren’t considered dangerous to humans.

In most cases, they are only dangerous to their prey and not to humans. Interestingly, the female spiders of this species tend to never leave the web unless threatened and forced to leave. These spiders are typically dark brown to black and occasionally have a reddish brown color for their legs. As with most spiders, these ones have 8 eyes as well.

Giant House Spiders

These spiders typically dwell in caves and the outdoors. However, they are becoming more common in homes as well. The Giant House Spider originally inhabited Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are now common in parts of the Pacific Northwest of the United States as well.

The Giant Hose Spider also has 8 eyes, arranged in 2 sets of 4. In addition to having a multitude of eyes to track down prey the Giant House Spider is also one of the fastest spiders on record so chasing down their prey is no problem.

Southern House Spiders

These are found in the southern United States as well as Central and South America. The females of this species tend to be dark brown to black in color and are usually larger than the males and have been thought to look like tiny tarantulas.

Females rarely leave their webs, while males typically wander in search of food and mates. For this reason, males are usually the spiders you will encounter in passing in your home. Unfortunately, these spiders look an awful lot like the dangerous Brown Recluse spider.

A few key differences is that the Southern House Spider lacks the violin shaped markings and coloration that all Brown Recluse spiders have.  These Southern House Spiders have 8 eyes as well, but the Brown Recluse Spiders only have 6 eyes.

Brown Recluse Spider

This house spider can be anywhere from about a 1/4 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch in length. It has a light to medium brown color, and also has a violin shaped marking on it’s body. This, however, is not the only thing that distinguishes the Brown Recluse spider which is why other spiders are often confused with them.

In this case, you always need to check for both the violin pattern as well as look for how many eyes the spider has. As most spiders have 8 eyes, the Brown Recluse is one of few spiders that has only 6 eyes arraigned in pairs.

Some spiders don’t even have eyes

One such spider called the Sinopoda scurion, lives it’s entire life in complete darkness and has evolved to have no eyes at all. Similar things have happened with fish that live in incredible depths in the ocean where sunlight never reaches. Now, you might think that having no eyes would make it difficult to capture food, but in most cases spiders have very poor eyesight to begin with.

Even with most spiders having 8 eyes, they usually can only see movement and low quality shapes. Many spider eyes have only one lens making sight weak and undefined.  One exception to this are jumping spiders. These spiders typically have a few larger eyes that can do a better job visually then most spiders.

Spiders rely on their more attuned senses such as touch and sensing vibrations in their webs and surroundings.

A unique family of spiders Caponiidae can have a variety of different numbers of eyes

While many spiders have 8 eyes, this family of spiders can have anywhere from 2 to 8 eyes. The number of eyes can actually change based on what stage of life cycle the spiders are in.

These can be found throughout the lowest parts of the United States, as well as South America and parts of Africa.

Overall, most spiders have 8 eyes, but their vision isn’t great. As humans, we can see at a higher level then spiders even though we only have 2 eyes. Many spiders are also classified according to how many eyes they have as well as the placement of the eyes.

It can be hard to determine specific spider species, even for trained professionals. We recommend reaching out to a pest control service to address the right species if you have spider issues in your home.

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