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Spider Eye Arrangements

The eye arrangement can be a key factor when identifying spiders to family, and sometimes to genus, but are almost never useful in identifying to species. For identifying to species, spinnerets and leg details (especially first and 4th legs) are also useful. However, the best thing anyone can do is to get an extreme closeup of a male palp or the underside of a female abdomen, and have them examined by an expert.

Below are some of the best bugguide images of spider eye arrangements. (Some families are not represented yet) The black and white images created are from BugGuide spider images. The views looking into the face were created by me and the dorsal drawing were done by Kyron. Be aware the depending on the viewing angle some eyes that are round may appear otherwise.

Keep in mind that eye arrangements may vary within the families, and the images below only represent a small portion of those spiders. Overall, 99% of all spiders have 8 eyes and of the remaining 1% nearly all have 6, but there are a few exceptions. Sometimes there can even be a varying number of eyes in the same spider family. For example, there are spiders in Cybaeidae that have eight eyes, six eyes, and two eyes. Those families are followed with "(in part)" to show that not all spiders in that family have the same number of eyes.

Families with six-eyed spiders
  Anapidae (in part)
  Cybaeidae (in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Dictynidae (in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Diguetidae
  Dysderidae
  Leptonetidae (in part-nearly all six-eyed)
  Linyphiidae (in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Nesticidae (in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Ochryroceratidae
  Oonopidae (in part-nearly all six-eyed)
  Orsolobidae
  Pholcidae (in part)
  Scytodidae
  Segestriidae
  Sicariidae
  Telemidae (in part-nearly all six-eyed)

Families with four-eyed spiders
  Nesticidae (in part)
  Symphytognathidae

Families with two-eyed spiders
  Caponiidae

Families with no-eyed spiders
  Cybaeidae (in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Dictynidae (in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Leptonetidae (in part)
  Linyphiidae(in part-nearly all eight-eyed)
  Nesticidae (in part)
  Telemidae (in part-nearly all six-eyed)
  Theridiidae (in part)

Table of contents to eight-eyed spiders represented below
  Agelenidae
  Amaurobiidae
  Anyphaenidae
  Clubionidae
  Corinnidae
  Ctenidae
  Ctenizidae
  Cybaeidae
  Dictynidae
  Filistatidae
  Gnaphosidae
  Linyphiidae
  Lycosidae
  Mimetidae
  Miturgidae
  Oecobiidae
  Oxyopidae
  Philodromidae
  Pholcidae
  Pisauridae
  Salticidae
  Selenopidae
  Sparassidae
  Thomisidae
  Tetragnathidae
  Theridiidae

Click here to see eye arrangement terminology:


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WOLF SPIDERS - Lycosidae (all eyes are round)

Unknown Genus


Hogna


Pardosa                             Arctosa
   

*I find Pardosa and Arctosa eye arrangements to be very similar.

Allocosa


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WANDERING SPIDERS - Ctenidae

Anahita


Ctenus


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NURSERY WEB SPIDERS - Pisauridae

Dolomedes


Pisaurina


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HACKLEMESH WEAVERS - Amaurobiidae

Callobius


Amaurobius


Coras

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FUNNEL-WEB WEAVERS - Agelenidae

Agelenopsis


Tegenaria (all eyes are round)


The following is an atypical Tegenaria.


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GHOST SPIDERS - Anyphaenidae
(this common name is not aknowledged by experts)

Hibana


Anyphaena



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SAC SPIDERS - Clubionidae



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PROWLING SPIDERS - Miturgidae
you have Cheiracanthium here (where it is currently, but
incorrectly placed in the World Spider Catalog) as well as in
Clubionidae. It will most likely end up in an independent family but a
nomenclatural tangle will have to be unraveled first since we can't
use the name Cheiracanthidae (it's already been used twice in other
groups!)

Cheiracanthium - clypeus low (it's high in Strotarchus)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GROUND SPIDERS - Gnaphosidae

gnaphosids often have some eyes oval



Drassyllus can be distinguished from Zelotes because the PMEs point in opposite directions (we need a good Zelotes dorsal shot).



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ANTMIMICS & GROUND SAC SPIDERS - Corinnidae

Trachelas


Castianeira


Falconina


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CYBAEIDS - Cybaeidae - EIGHT, SIX or ZERO EYES

Cybaeus


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MESH WEB SPIDERS - Dictynidae

Dictyna


Cicurina


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SHEETWEB & DWARF SPIDERS - Linyphiidae



Drapetisca


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ORB WEAVERS - Araneidae
dorsal aspect that araneid eyes are distinctive

Araneus


Neoscona                       Neoscona oaxacensis
   

Araniella


Larinioides


Argiope                                                       Eriophora
   

Gasteracantha cancriformis


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LONG-JAWED ORB WEAVERS - Tetragnathidae

Tetragnatha


Leucauge                           Meta
   

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COBWEB WEAVERS - Theridiidae

Enoplognatha


Latrodectus


Steatoda



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CRAB SPIDERS - Thomisidae (see also
this article)

Misumena


Misumenoides                                                         Misumenops
       

Tmarus                                 Xysticus
   

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RUNNING CRAB SPIDERS - Philodromidae

Philodromus


Tibellus


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIANT CRAB SPIDERS - Sparassidae

Pseudosparanthis                 Olios                     Heteropoda
       

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JUMPING SPIDERS - Salticidae




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LYNX SPIDERS - Oxyopidae



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FLATTIES - Selenopidae
(this common name is not aknowledged by experts)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PIRATE SPIDERS - Mimetidae
try to get a better photo of a front leg



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WALL SPIDERS - Oecobiidae



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CELLAR SPIDERS - Pholcidae - EIGHT OR SIX EYES

unkown Pholcidae


Pholcus


Spermophora


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CREVICE WEAVERS - Filistatidae



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TRAPDOOR SPIDERS - Ctenizidae



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DYSDERIDS - Dysderidae - SIX EYES



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RECLUSE SPIDERS - Sicariidae - SIX EYES



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SPITTING SPIDERS - Scytodidae - SIX EYES



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A special thank you to Jeff Hollenbeck and Rod Crawford for helping me with information for this article. Also thank you to all the photographers who took these great close-up eye shots.

The dorsal drawings (and many of the photos) are the work of Kyron Basu. Without his help I don't know if I ever would have finished this article. Thanks Kyron!

Tegenaria gigantea
You should add this picture of Tegenaria gigantea eyes, because they look different from the current drawings and photos.

 
Good idea
I don't have time right now, but I'll add it to my list of things to do. Thanks.

Wow!
Thank you so much for posting this! I was having a lot of trouble placing some specimens, but this made it so much easier :)

Good Eyes
This site has proved to be extremely useful in identifying spiders to their families. Thanks for the effort you have put in and I look forward to further changes.

Pretty incredible!
Pretty incredible!

great resource, admirably done!
thank you, Lynette!

Whose comments??
There are what appear to be new review comments interspersed in the article. Whose are they?

 
those are from Rod Crawford
He sent me an email to help with the article. Since I don't have time to do them right now, I left the comments in the article as a reminder to fix these areas.

Eye color?
Not sure if there is a way to include eye color in here as well? Just learning that the Gnaphosidae, for example, always (?) have the anterior median eyes dark and the other eyes light in color? This is another helpful clue, I think, and could perhaps be diagrammed by leaving the other eyes as empty circles and the anterior medians as filled-in circles? Just an idea - this article is great as is...

For example, from the Colorado Spider Survey web site:

"18a) GNAPHOSIDAE
...Anterior median eyes dark; other eyes light. Posterior median eyes often oval or more or less triangular rather than circular (Fig. 24)..."

 
ah,
I'd seen another key that left some white and others dark, but I had no idea what it meant. I'll give this suggestion some thought, thanks.

What an invaluable contribution!
Wow, Lynette. Simply amazing! Did you actually take the time to create those images of the eyes? That must have taken some time, getting them to line up properly and all of that, because they look perfect!

Each spider eye arrangement image should be on each spider's guide page or something!

 
Thanks Paul
Yes, it has definitely taken some time, and it still needs more work. Each one is photoshopped from a spider image here at bugguide. Luckily, we really have some awesome images of eye arrangements, which makes it much easier.

 
Well it really is great work.
Well it really is great work. How many spider species left you have to do??? *wink wink*

 
dorsal view?
Hi, Lynette-

I came across http://research.amnh.org/entomology/blackrock2/families/philodromidae.htm today while trying to pin down my P. marxi/imbecillus. The dorsal view is nice and could be helpful when one doesn't have a face shot. What do you think? Do you prepare these drawings yourself? BTW, I could not find an "author" listed in the draft article -- that should be there, I think.

Best wishes from Durham, NC,

-Kevin

 
Yes
the dorsal view is coming eventually. These are not really drawings, but more of a photo manipulation. I take the original bugguide image and make the eyes more prominent by blackening the entire eye, then I erase everything else. Getting the dorsal views just depends on when I have time to work on them. Unfortunately, there are far fewer good dorsal eye shots in the guide to work from. At this time, these eye arrangments are more for narrowing down to family, not narrowing down to genus. Thanks for the link, though, it may be helpful in the future as this article develops.

 
Help?
Do you have a standard for these images -- do they need to be of a certain width or size (measuring across the lateral eyes at their widest point)?

I might be willing to help with the work after we return to Germany (July).

-K

 
Eye images
I'll email you the info.

Superior information
I love the in-depth information about the spiders. So many eye patterns to look for.

Just
a note, the info I provided Lynette with is from a family key in Spiders of North America(1)

Great Start!
This is a great start, Lynette, something that will be extremely valuable in helping to identify various spiders. Nice job!

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