Scientific American: UC biologist explains jumping spider vision

Biologist Nathan Morehouse launched a new interdisciplinary lab dedicated to senses

Scientific American talked to University of Cincinnati biologist Nathan Morehouse about the surprisingly complex vision of jumping spiders.

Morehouse and other scientists are trying to better understand how spiders perceive the world. Most spiders have eight eyes.

“Understanding how their eyes work together may inform future technologies, and offer a glimpse into a very different being’s perception,” Scientific American wrote.

The magazine reported on a study by Massimo de Agró at the University of Regensburg in Germany that found a spider's lateral eyes often determine where the spider goes. Researchers found that the lateral eyes not only pick up movement but enough detail to help the spider navigate.

“The results are indicative of cognitive processes that are sifting the world into categories of what is interesting — what is worth turning toward and investigating further, and what is not — what can be dismissed or ignored or kept in the corner of one's eye,” Morehouse told Scientific American. “These are really questions about alien minds.”

While Morehouse was not part was not part of the study, he has conducted research on jumping spiders around the world.

Morehouse recently launched the UC Institute for Research in Sensing, an interdisciplinary lab with participants from both STEM and non-STEM fields.

Read the Scientific American article.

Featured image at top: A jumping spider. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

Nathan Morehouse stands in his spider lab.

UC associate professor Nathan Morehouse spoke to Scientific American about the vision of jumping spiders. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand