Pupil Size in Spider Eyes Is Linked to Post-Ecdysal Lens Growth
In this study we describe a distinctive pigment ring that appears in spider eyes after ecdysis and successively decreases in size in the days thereafter. Although pigment stops in spider eyes are well known, size variability is, to our knowledge, reported here for the first time. Representative species from three families (Ctenidae, Sparassidae and Lycosidae) are investigated and, for one of these species (Cupiennius salei, Ctenidae), the progressive increase in pupil diameter is monitored. In this species the pupil occupies only a fourth of the total projected lens surface after ecdysis and reaches its final size after approximately ten days. MicroCT images suggest that the decrease of the pigment ring is linked to the growth of the corneal lens after ecdysis. The pigment rings might improve vision in the immature eye by shielding light rays that would otherwise enter the eye via peripheral regions of the cornea, beside the growing crystalline lens.
Publication typeJournal article