A giant eyeball that washed ashore and was found by a beachcomber in Pompano Beach, Fla., is mystifying wildlife officials — but probably not for long.
The softball-sized eyeball was reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday, and wildlife officers put the specimen on ice. It will be preserved and sent to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., for analysis.
Marine biologists couldn’t immediately identify which species of sea creature would be associated with the eye, but researchers will use genetic testing if necessary to solve the mystery, said Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the commission. “I shouldn’t say this, but they may be able to eyeball it,” she told me today.
The ideas right now are focusing on a large fish – swordfish, tuna, or deep-water fish species. An expert can tell what type of animal it comes from and it appears that it is not from a whale or squid. Can’t WAIT to find out what it is. We’ll keep you posted.
Tip: Meganne Valerioti
UPDATE: Deep Sea News says experts report it’s definitely a swordfish. But, still, how did it GET there?
Sönke is an expert on everything visual in marine organisms including transparency, cryptic coloration, bioluminescence, ultraviolet protection, and of course vision. He responded
I’m fairly sure it’s just the eye of a large scombrid, likely a swordfish or marlin. They get seriously big, but people don’t realize it because most of the eye is inside the head.
talked with some colleagues — definitely a swordfish eye
UPDATE (15-Oct-20120: The official confirmation:
“Experts on site and remotely have viewed and analyzed the eye, and based on its color, size and structure, along with the presence of bone around it, we believe the eye came from a swordfish,” said Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, in a statement. “Based on straight-line cuts visible around the eye, we believe it was removed by a fisherman and discarded.”