Technology & Science

Giant squid has largest eye ever seen

Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid say they had measured its eye at about 28 centimetres across.

Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid say they had measured its eye at about 28 centimetres across — the biggest animal eye on earth.

One of the squid's two eyes, with a lens as big as an orange, was found intact as the scientists examined the creature while it was slowly defrosted. It has been preserved at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, since being caught in the Ross Sea off Antarctica's northern coast last year.

Auckland University of Technology squid specialist Kat Bolstad says it is the only intact eye of a colossal squid that's ever been found.

The squid is the biggest specimen ever caught of the rare and mysterious deep-water species Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, or colossal squid.

It is eight metres long and weighs almost 450 kilograms, but scientists believe the species may grow as long as 14 metres.

"This is the largest eye ever recorded in history and studied," said Swedish professor Eric Warrant of the University of Lund, who specializes in vision in invertebrates. "It has a huge lens the size of an orange and captures an awful lot of light in the dark depths in which it hunts."

They can descend to two kilometres and are known to be aggressive hunters.

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