Jumping spiders lose vision when hungry

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati have described the loss of photoreceptors in jumping spiders on a limited diet

Pixabay/Ronny Overhate

Scientists believe that a new study describing the effect of starvation on jumping spiders could hold insight for the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The research, which was published in Vision Research, involved studying two groups of captive spiders. One group was fed an unrestricted diet while the other group was given half portions.

Scientists used a micro-ophthalmoscope to test photoreceptor damage in the eyes of the jumping spiders.

They found that photoreceptor degeneration was exacerbated in the underfed group of spiders.

The degeneration was most prevalent in the high density region of the retina – like AMD in humans.

Professor Elke Buschbeck, of the University of Cincinnati, shared that this area is the equivalent of the macula in humans.

“Photoreceptors are energetically costly. It’s hard to keep up with their energy needs. If you deprive them of nutrition, the system fails,” Buschbeck shared.