Two visual systems in one brain: Neuropils serving the principal eyes of the spider Cupiennius salei

Nicholas J. Strausfeld, Peter Weltzien, Friedrich G. Barth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Principal (anterior median) eyes of the wandering spider Cupiennius are served by three successive neuropils, the organization of which is distinct from those serving secondary eyes. Photoreceptors terminate in the first optic neuropil amongst second order neurons with overlapping dendritic fields. Second order neurons terminate at various depths in anterior median eye medulla where they are visited by bush‐like dendritic trees of third order projection neurons. These supply tracts which extend into the “central body.” This crescent‐shaped neuropil lies midsagittally in the rear of the brain near its dorsal surface. It is organized into columns and it supplies both columnar and tangential efferents to other brain centers. The supply to and organization of the “central body” neuropil is reminiscent of retinotopic neuropils supplying the lobula of insects. Channels to the “central body” comprise one of two concurrent visual pathways, the other provided by the secondary eyes supplying the “mushroom body.” We suggest that principal eye pathways may be involved in form and texture perception whereas secondary eyes detect motion, as is known for jumping spiders. Our data do not support Hanström's classical view that the “central body” is specifically associated with web‐building, nor that it is homologous to its namesake in insect brains. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1993


  • Cupiennius salei
  • arachnids
  • concurrent processing
  • principal eyes
  • visual system
  • “central body”

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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