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  • Ashley Fan

Spiders vs Spider-Man: Who has better eyesight?

In 1962, Marvel Comics introduced the Spider-Man franchise, in which a boy named Peter Parker is granted the capabilities of a spider. He can control webs with his hands, crawl on walls and ceilings, and use his supernatural sense of his surroundings to protect himself and those in danger. Thankfully, Peter Parker does not inherit the vision of a spider, as the differences between human eyesight and that of a spider are very different both in appearance and functionality.

Most spiders have eight eyes, each pair having a distinct name, corresponding to the positions on the spider’s head. The first row of eyes have two pairs, in which there are two kinds of eye positions: posterior lateral and posterior median. Posterior lateral eyes are located at each end of the first row, while the two eyes in the middle belong to the posterior median pair. The next two distinct pairs are anterior lateral and anterior median. They follow the same pattern as the previous row, the anterior lateral eyes being on the furthest sides and the anterior median pair located in the middle of the second row.

Despite having four different eye positions, spiders only have two types of eyes: the principal eyes and secondary eyes. The only pair of principal eyes is located in the anterior median position, the other three pairs classified as secondary eyes. Spiders use their principal eyes to track objects, differentiate between objects and surroundings (also known as visual discrimination), as well as pattern detection, which allows the spider to see details, like texture and shape.

Secondary eyes provide a wide field of vision to detect movements and objects. They also have a reflective layer behind the retina called the tapetum, increasing light sensitivity in spider eyes. This also allows a spider to see images in low light, still, the image resolution is not as sharp as the quality of humans.

If Peter Parker were to receive the vision of a spider, it would very much feel like there was “no way home.” With many eyes and eye functions, one would think that spiders would have more advanced vision, but that is not at all the case. Although spiders may have eyesight sufficient for their needs, adopting their vision as a human would certainly make many tasks impossible to fulfill, especially the duties of Peter Parker. In terms of who has the better eyesight, Spider-Man wins another battle yet again.


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