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However monstrous it seems, this is actually a small jumping spider (family: Salticidae), its head measuring only 2-3mm.
The most fascinating feature of jumping spiders (aka. salticids) are their eyes. They have excellent vision, with among the highest acuities in invertebrates. Their eight eyes are arranged in such a way that makes them easily recognizable among other spider families: grouped four on the face (the two big Anterior Median eyes in the middle, and two smaller Anterior Lateral eyes to the side), and four on top of the carapace (two medium-sized eyes toward the back, and two very small eyes in front of them).
Read more about how they function, in this comprehensive article (complete with diagrams), by Wayne Maddison, on the Tree of Life web project: Jumping Spider Vision.
I also recommend checking out this article by Anna Mitros, to see how this biological feature can inspire and motivate a scientist working on Visual Sensors: Vibrating Retina.
Click here for more photos of jumping spiders in my flickr photostream.If you're interested on the macro setup I used to take this shot, click here for a photo and detailed description.
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