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Huge eyeball washes ashore in Florida -- but eyeball from what?

October 12, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • No one knows what species the huge blue eyeball came from.
No one knows what species the huge blue eyeball came from. (Carli Segelson / Florida…)

Something out in the deep off the Florida coast is giving human beings the fish eye. Really.

It isn’t just the size of the big blue eyeball -- which easily fills two hands -- that's so disconcerting; it's the mystery behind the lost globe. Florida marine experts are investigating the eye in an attempt to learn just what kind of creature spawned it.

“I saw it with my own eye, and it is bigger than a baseball -- about the size of a softball,” Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It is a very pretty eye.”

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The orb was found on Wednesday by Gino Covacci, who was taking his usual stroll along the sand at Pompano Beach, north of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He told the Sun Sentinel that he saw it lying at the high tide line and kicked it over, only to be staring at something that, well, stared back.

Covacci said he put the eye in a plastic bag and popped it into the fridge when he got home.

“It was very, very fresh,” he told the newspaper, noting that it still had blood on it when he put it in the bag.

Covacci contacted police, who passed him to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The agency is preserving the eye and planning to send it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg for further study, Segelson said.

The color of Ol’ Blue Eye may hold the key to eventually identifying the creature from whence it came.

“I understand certain species of fish have coloring like that,” Segelson said.

Officials have ruled out squid and octopus because there “there seems to be some bones around the eye,” and those creatures are invertebrates, she said.

There is also the mystery of how the eye ended up on the shore. One theory is that a fisherman may have caught something, cleaned and fileted it, tossing the leftovers overboard where it was washed on to the beach.

“Things are always washing up on the beaches in Florida,” Segelson said with a laugh.

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