Researchers from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt found that ‘Sinopoda scurion’ is the first huntsman spider which does not have eyes.
With a leg span of only six centimetres and a body size of around twelve millimetres, the spider Sinopoda scurion is a representative of huntsman spiders, which include more than 1,100 species.
‘I found the spider in a cave in Laos, around 100 kilometres away from the famous Xe Bang Fai cave,’ said Peter Jager, head of the arachnology section at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt.
‘We already knew of spiders of this genus from other caves, but they always had eyes and complete pigmentation. Sinopoda scurion is the first huntsman spider without eyes,’ Jager was quoted by the paper as saying.
The accompanying study has been published by the scientific journal Zootaxa. The team believe the regression of the eyes is attributable to living permanently without daylight.
This adaptation was also observed in other cave-dwelling spider species by the Frankfurt arachnologist. ‘The Sinopoda species described demonstrate all kinds of transitions to cave adaptation from eight functioning eyes to forms with six, four and two lenses, right up to blind spiders,’ said Jager.
The eyeless huntsman spider was named after the Swiss company “Scurion” that makes headlamps for caves.