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, but 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, and 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. They are arranged with 6 of the 8 eyes facing forward.

This allows them to sense the slightest movement from their prey or from potential threats. Unfortunately, their sight isn’t incredibly detailed even with 8 eyes sensing mostly just movement and not much else.

Brown House Spider

This spider, which has also been called a Cupboard Spider, can be found throughout the world and is another common spider you may find in your home. These spiders also tend to be confused with Black Widow spiders as they have a 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 and they are arranged in two rows of four.

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 but the have been increasing in numbers of instances that they are found in homes as well. The Giant House Spider was originally found to inhabit Mainly Europe, Asia, and Africa, but has made its way to parts of the Pacific North West of the United States as well.

The Giant Hose Spider also has 8 eyes and they are arraigned in two sets of 4 eyes. 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

The Southern House Spider, as their name suggests, are common to states in the southern United States as well as in 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 and typically has a light brown to medium brown color in addition to having a violin shaped marking on their bodies. 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.  A few exceptions can be a small category of spiders called jumping spiders. These spiders typically have a few larger eyes that can do a better job visually then most spiders.

Often, spiders tend to 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. In these types of spiders, the number of eyes can actually change based on what stage of life cycle the spiders are in.

These spiders can be found scattered throughout the lowest parts of the southern 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, so we really recommend reaching out to a pest control service to treat for the right species if you do have spider issues in your home.

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