Can Spiders see in the Dark? Spider Night Vision Explained (2023)

Spiders are the air-breathing arthropods, invertebrate animals having an exoskeleton that has been on Earth before the Devonian period. Everyone knows that spiders have primarily four pairs of eyes and are primarily active at night. But have you ever wondered how they see the world in the dark or at night?

The answer to the question, “Can Spiders see in the Dark” is: Most spiders have poor eyesight, and they cannot see in the dark. They are primarily dependent on their other senses like touch, vibration, and taste stimuli to search for their prey. 

However, some species of spiders, like Wolf spiders from the Lycosidae family, have tapetum lucidum, a thin reflective membrane in their eyes that allows them to spot their prey in low light conditions.

The ability of spiders to see in the dark predominately depends on their species. Some spiders, like eyeless huntsman spiders, don’t even have eyes. 

Therefore, later in this post, we have explained more about Spiders’ Night vision and their ability to see the world in detail. So, without any delay, let’s begin.

Can Spiders see in the Dark?

No, most spiders cannot see in the dark. However, their eyes are mainly dependent on their species. Many spiders are nocturnal means they carry out their daily activities like making webs or catching prey, mostly at night. 

They have poor eyesight and cannot see well in the dark. Therefore, they rely on their other senses, like touch and vibration, to search or catch their prey. 

Among all the spiders, only wolf spiders (Lycosidae) have tapetum lucidum in their eyes. It is a thin reflective membrane that reflects even the slightest of light back to the retina. With the help of this reflective tissue, wolf spiders can visually glimpse in low-light conditions. 

In short, it’s better to say they have spider night vision. To check, you can glow a flashlight towards the wolf spiders; you can see their eyes will reflect green/white light. It is because of tapetum lucidum.

Spiders Night Vision
Wolf Spiders’ eyes are glowing in the dark.

In too much light, it acts as a mirror by allowing only necessary light to enter the eyes and remaining to reflect back to the surrounding. However, other spiders are not as lucky as Wolf Spiders and sense the vibrations of their surroundings to navigate.

Few spiders, like jumping spiders (Salticidae) and flower spiders (Thomisidae), have good daylight vision and are most active during the day. They even have eyesight compared to other species of spiders. But they do not perceive the world the same as humans. 

Most spiders have eight eyes in a group of 4 pairs. Each pair has different functionality. Some pairs are used to recognize the colors from the visible spectrum, while some are used to detect motion, and the remaining ones perceive details. In this manner, their eyes work differently. 

Also, spiders do not have a clear vision like humans. They are near-sighted, and the size and type of their eyes only offer them up to five degrees of vision.

In addition, some spiders like Arctosa raptor have median eyes that allow them the ability to detect polarized light. It helps them while hunting. In a nutshell, there are more than 43,000 species of spiders as of 2022, and every species witnesses the world distinctly.

Can Spiders see color?

Some species of spiders can see colors, like Jumping spiders; however, most spiders have poor eyesight and can only differentiate between light and dark. Spiders mainly depend on their tactical sense to feel the vibrations of their surroundings. Among all the spiders, jumping spiders have the best color vision. These spiders are primarily relying on their color vision to detect prey.

Jumping spiders have true color vision like humans, which means the cones in their eyes can perceive blue, green, and red colors. In addition to the visible spectrum, these spiders have ultraviolet receptors in their retinas. They discern more colors than humans.

Spiders Color Vision
“Spiders Color Vision”
Colorful Jumping spider can see colors | Image Credit Thomas Shahan (Treehugger)

Also, in the research, it is noticed that jumping spiders have colorful bodies. They dance and show off more colors to attract potential mates. With the ability to perceive ultraviolet light, jumping spiders can easily distinguish male, female or different species of spiders

Their vision assists them in carrying out day-to-day activities like searching for prey, finding mates, and determining various species and foods.

However, recently in a new study from the University of Cincinnati, researchers discovered that a type of brightly colored jumping spider, Saitis barbipes is colorblind. This jumping spider has a colorful body; still, it is colorblind by nature and can be commonly found in Europe and North Africa.

On the contrary, wolf spiders are dichromats and can only see the world in blue-green shades and ultraviolet light. Their eyes comprise more rods than cones, which allows them to see better in low light conditions.

Note: Rods in the eyes help to sense the brightness of light, whereas cones assist in recognizing millions of color shades.

Wolf Spiders have both rods and tapetum lucidum in their eyes, which plays a significant role in catching prey at night.

Conclusion: There are more than 43,000 species of spiders, and every spider species perceive different types of color shades. Therefore, it is challenging to conclude what colors spiders see.

For more details, you can watch this video.


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Are Spiders colorblind?

Most spiders are dichromatic and not completely colorblind. However, some spiders like Saitis barbipes, colored jumping spiders are colorblind, and Blind huntsman spiders, Sinopoda scurion, do not have eyes and are completely blind. Therefore, are spiders color blind or not predominately focused on their species.

How do Spiders see the world? Do spiders have poor eyesight?

Most spiders see the world with blurry vision. They have poor eyesight that concentrates on motion sensitivity rather than details. Unlike bees, they have a single lens that focuses light onto a retina. 

Spiders can visually discern the slightest of movements by small insects with their eyes. However, exceptional cases are wolf spiders and jumping spiders that primarily rely on their eyes to catch their prey. 

They have the advanced vision and good eyesight compared to other spiders. Jumping spiders can see well in daylight with colors, whereas wolf spiders are experts in night vision.

Spidr Vision vs Human Vision
Jumping Spider Vision vs Human Vision (an estimate on how do spiders see the world)

Every spider species has a different vision. For example jumping spiders have high-resolution eyesight within a span of 2 to 20 millimeters. They can see their surrounding with color and details. Their sharper vision helps to stalk and pounce on prey with impressive precision.  

On the other hand, wolf spiders can see in the dark with the help of tapetum lucidum. And their eyesight plays a significant role in catching the prey at night.

Some spiders have very good eyesight that is only five to ten times lesser than a human vision, but most spiders have very poor eyesight and perceive the world in haziness.

How far can Spiders see?

Most spiders are near-sighted and have poor eyesight. They have blurry vision and cannot see anything with details. But some spiders, like jumping spiders, are able to see up to 20 millimeters (0.8 inches) with clarity. After a certain distance, even these spiders cannot perceive anything rather than light. 

Can Spiders see humans?

A recent study has proved that jumping spiders can accurately see humans at a certain distance. However, most spiders with hazy vision cannot see and recognize humans. These spiders can sense the nearby vibration. And with the help of their tactical sense, they categorized the size of an entity.

Spider vision vs Human vision

Spider Vision Human Vision
Most spiders can sense ultraviolet light. Humans cannot sense ultraviolet light.
Some spiders have a trichromatic vision, while most of them are dichromats. Humans have trichromatic vision.
Wolf spiders can see in the dark. Cannot see in the dark

Here, we conclude our article on “Can Spiders see in the Dark, along with explaining other relevant queries. We hope you like it. We will be back with another post. Till then, stay tuned with us. Also, to know more knowledgeable facts, read our articles below.


Image Source- The Chive, Mashable

How Jumping Spiders See in Color by Smithsonian Magazine

Do spiders have a favorite color by Science Daily

Baby spiders can see humans by sky news

Also Read:

How do Butterflies see?

Can Cockroaches see color?

How do Ants See the World?