giant squids with giant eyes against giant whales

(C) Wikimedia

Giant squid and swordfish are similar in size but the squid’s eyes are proportionally much larger, three times the diameter and 27 times the volume,” Sönke Johnsen, a biologists at Duke University, said. Why would these cephalopods evolve soccer-ball-size eyes? According to a freshly published paper, giant squid use their XXXL sized eyes to “see” big sperm whales feeding on them in the depth of the dark ocean. But how is it possible that squid can see in such a dark environment? Well, actually sperm whales can grow really big (up to 18 meters and 50 tons of weight) so one might thing that everybody can see them. But, there’s always a but, what squids actually see is the  blinking of millions of tiny lights generated by the bio-luminescent plankton when excited by the passage of a sperm whale moving through the water! Fascinating evolution…

Dan-Eric Nilsson, Eric J. Warrant, Sönke Johnsen, Roger Hanlon, Nadav Shashar. 2012. A Unique Advantage for Giant Eyes in Giant Squid. Current Biology, 15 March 2012.doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.02.031

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