Role of the different eyes in the visual odometry in the wolf spider Lycosa tarantula (Araneae, Lycosidae)

J Exp Biol. 2017 Jan 15;220(Pt 2):259-265. doi: 10.1242/jeb.145763.


The wolf spider Lycosa tarantula returns home by means of path integration. Previous studies demonstrated: (i) that the angular component of the outbound run is measured using a polarized-light compass associated with the anterior median eyes; (ii) changes in direction of the substratum are detected by the anterior lateral eyes (ALEs); and (iii) in relation to the linear component of the outbound run, an increase of optic flow, in either the lateral or ventral fields of view, caused spiders to search for the burrow at a point nearer to the goal. However, the role of the secondary eyes [ALEs, posterior lateral eyes (PLEs) and posterior median eyes (PMEs)] in the perception of this optic flow and the importance of them for gauging the distance walked is still unknown. In this study, lateral or ventral gratings of wavelength λ=1 cm were used, with two groups of spiders in each setup: (1) PLEs+PMEs covered and (2) ALEs covered. The largest reduction in the distance walked to return to the burrow was observed with the ventral grating/ALEs covered. These results show the importance of the previously neglected ALEs for the visual behavior of these spiders. The possibility of gathering information for locomotion from the three pairs of secondary eyes in the mushroom bodies is discussed.

Keywords: ALEs; Optic flow; PLEs; PMEs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Random Allocation
  • Spiders / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular*
  • Visual Perception*
  • Walking