Shepherd Spider, or long legged spider, micrograph, 1664.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration from Robert Hooke's 'Micrographia'. Hooke (1635-1703) studied at Oxford University, where he met Robert Boyle and asisted him in the construction of an air pump for use in his experiments on the effects of reduced gas presures. In 1660 he moved to London and became one of the founder members of the Royal Society, at which he held the post of 'Curator of Experiments'. 'Micrographia', the first important work on microscopy, was published in 1664 and contains illustrations of some of the specimens Hooke viewed under the compound microscope that he designed, as well as the microscope itself. Hooke chose this spider as a subject because it has eyes on the crown of its head, back to back. It also had a further peculiarity, each leg was over sixteen times the length of its whole body.