How Many Eyes Do Wolf Spiders Have?


How many eyes do wolf spiders have? If you’ve ever seen a wolf spider up close then you know that they have a lot of eyes. But, how many eyes do they have exactly?

Well, wolf spiders have eight eyes arranged in three rows, with four small eyes above their mouth, two large eyes that peer out at the front, and then two more large eyes at the top of their head.

However, why do wolf spiders have so many eyes? Let’s take a look!

Quick Facts About Wolf Spider Eyes:

  • Wolf spiders exhibit remarkable visual capabilities, particularly in detecting movement, even under low-light conditions. 
  • Their eyes enable them to perceive vibrations in the ground, aiding in the precise location of prey. 
  • Notably, certain wolf spider species possess eyes with a slight rotation capability, expanding their already impressive field of view.

Wolf Spiders Eyes

The eyes of the wolf spider are located in three rows around their head, (cephalothorax). This means they can see almost everything around them without having to move from side to side.

The Location Of The Wolf Spiders Eyes:

  • Two Large Eyes On Top Of The Head
  • Two Large Eyes At The Front
  • Four Smaller Eyes Forming A Row

The Wolf spider’s eyes are arranged in three rows. The bottom row consists of four small, simple eyes, designed for peripheral vision and light detection.

Wolf spiders eyes

In the middle row, there are two large, forward-facing eyes that offer exceptional depth perception and detail recognition.

These eyes contribute to the distinctive “starry eyes” appearance seen in photographs of wolf spiders. Finally, the top row features two smaller, rear-facing eyes, extending visual coverage to the upper field.

This arrangement allows the spider to effectively navigate its surroundings and detect both prey and potential threats from various directions.

Wolf spiders have two eyes at the top of their head, however, these can be hard to see at first glance! As seen in the photo!

The first thing your notice when looking at a wolf spider is their two large eyes that peer out the front. Below that is four smaller eyes forming a row, located just above their mouth.

This gives them an even better advantage during hunting and foraging because they have space all around them covered by their vision range.

If something does catch its attention, it will be able to direct itself toward prey easier while still being aware of predators coming from other directions as well!

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Wolf Spiders 8 Eyes Functions:

Wolf spiders’ eyes serve distinct functions tailored to their hunting lifestyle. The large eyes play a crucial role in hunting, offering exceptional depth perception and detailed vision that aids in stalking and tracking prey.

Meanwhile, the smaller eyes contribute to navigation, providing the spider with heightened spatial awareness to effectively maneuver through its environment.

Additionally, the collective eight eyes, with their wide field of view, act as a vigilant predator detection system, ensuring the wolf spider remains alert to potential threats from various directions.

This specialized allocation of functions among their eyes enhances the overall predatory prowess and survival instincts of the wolf spiders.

Why Do Wolf Spiders Have So Many Eyes?

So at this point, you probably thinking why do wolf spiders have so many eyes? and why would a spider need more than two? The answer to this is because of their hunting style and environment.

If you’ve ever seen a wolf spider hunt, then you know that it moves quickly as it searches for prey.

This type of movement requires them to be able to see what’s going on around them, especially in low-light conditions.

Extra Eyes Help With The Following:

  • Hunting Prey
  • Detecting Movement
  • Determine Distance
  • Depth Perception
  • Looking Out For Predators

Wolf spiders possess eight eyes, a distinctive feature compared to most spiders with six eyes.

This unique arrangement serves their active hunting lifestyle with specialized functions. The two large forward-facing eyes offer superior 3D vision, crucial for tracking prey accurately.

All eight eyes, including smaller side and rear-facing ones, provide a wide field of view, enhancing awareness during hunts and guarding against potential threats.

Additionally, a reflective layer in the large eyes intensifies available light, giving wolf spiders a night vision boost.

Each eye pair plays a specific role, with the “Big Two” focusing on detail and depth, while the smaller eyes contribute to peripheral awareness.

This carefully evolved eye configuration grants wolf spiders a significant advantage in hunting, predator avoidance, and navigating their environments with confidence.

Wolf Spiders will also use their special technique to help them see better called “tapetum lucidum.”

Tapetum lucid is a layer behind the spider’s retina in their secondary eyes which reflects light back at it to make images appear brighter and clearer under low-light conditions.

This process creates what is known as a “glow,” in the eye! You may notice this if shine a flashlight directly on the spider at night.

Wolf Spiders Have Excellent Vision:

These spiders have superior vision, attributed to distinctive features in their eye structure. They are equipped with a tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer located behind their retinas.

This unique feature enhances their night vision capabilities by amplifying incoming light. This unique adaptation also causes their eyes to exhibit a noticeable “shine” when exposed to light.

Among spiders, wolf spiders rank third in terms of eyesight, with only jumping spiders and huntsman spiders surpassing them.

Remarkably, jumping spiders even possess the ability to perceive color.

The combination of the tapetum lucidum and their high-ranking eyesight underscores the formidable visual acuity that contributes to the hunting success of wolf spiders, particularly in low-light conditions.

Can Wolf Spiders See Colors?

Wolf spiders, while excelling in hunting and navigation, have limited color vision compared to humans.

Possessing dichromatic vision with sensitivity to green and ultraviolet light, they perceive the world mostly in shades of green, gray, and black.

This visual adaptation helps them detect camouflaged prey like insects. Despite lacking the color range of humans and some spiders, their specialized vision suits their needs well. Following are the summarized facts:

  • Wolf spiders can technically see some colors, but only green and ultraviolet, not the full spectrum.
  • Their world appears mostly in shades of green, gray, and black.
  • Their green sensitivity aids in hunting prey that often blend in with green vegetation.
  • They lack the ability to distinguish red, blue, and other colors humans can see.

How Many Eyes Do Baby Wolf Spiders Have?

When baby wolf spiders (Spiderlings) hatch they have a total of six eyes. The two additional eyes on top of their head will develop and become more noticeable over time as they grow.

However even with just six eyes, the babies are still able to see very well.

Even at such a young age, they are able to use their eyesight as an advantage. Their vision is very good and because of this, they can detect prey faster than most spiders with less developed sight.

This also gives them the ability to sense danger earlier which helps keep them safe from predators early on in life.

Can Wolf Spiders Still Function If They Lose An Eye?

Although wolf spiders can continue functioning if they lose an eye, the impact varies depending on the eye’s type and the remaining eyes.

Losing a small side or rear eye has minimal to minor effects as these eyes contribute to peripheral vision and light detection. 

However, the loss of a large forward eye, responsible for depth perception and detail recognition crucial for hunting, has a significant impact.

This loss may make it challenging for the spider to accurately judge distances and track prey, potentially reducing hunting success. 

Nonetheless, wolf spiders can adapt with just one large forward eye, relying on their remaining eye, touch, and vibration senses for hunting and navigation.

They might adjust their prey selection to less challenging targets and become somewhat more vulnerable to predators due to a slightly reduced awareness.

Overall, while not ideal, wolf spiders are resilient and can often adapt and survive with just seven eyes.

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Now you know how many eyes wolf spiders have and the answer behind why they use their many eyes for hunting prey, seeing better in low-light conditions.

And giving them a wide field of vision around themselves instead of just having two big primary eyes as most creatures would normally have.

There are so many more interesting facts about these fascinating species but we’ll leave those for another blog post at some point soon!

If you want to know more about wolf spiders or any other spider don’t forget to check out our other posts!

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