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Huge eyeball turns up on Fla. beach

AP
A giant eyeball from a mysterious sea creature washed ashore and was found by a man walking the beach in Pompano Beach, Fla. No one knows what species the huge blue eyeball came from. The eyeball will be sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, FL. (AP Photo/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Carli Segelson)

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By Sun Sentinel

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 5:36 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Taking his usual morning stroll along the surf in Pompano Beach, Gino Covacci noticed a strange ball-like object at the high tide line. He kicked it over and found himself staring at the biggest eyeball he had ever seen.

The blue, softball-size orb he found on Wednesday was a departure from the shells, cigarette butts and seaweed he usually sees. He put it in a plastic bag and put that in the refrigerator.

“It was very, very fresh,” he said on Thursday. “It was still bleeding when I put it in the plastic bag.”

He notified a police officer, who gave him the phone number for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Wildlife officers placed the eyeball on ice. It will be preserved in formalin, a mixture of formaldehyde and water, before being sent for analysis to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, according to Carli Segelson, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission.

So what creature is swimming around with an eye patch?

No one is certain, although the waters off South Florida abound with species large enough to be possibilities, including swordfish, tuna, sharks and whales. Giant squids are known for developing huge eyes to gather in what little light reaches their deep ocean habitat.

Charles Messing, a professor at Nova Southeastern University's Oceanographic Center, said he couldn't rule out a giant squid but his examination of photographs of various marine creatures led him to think the most likely candidate was a swordfish.

Swordfish are extremely common off South Florida, which supports an active commercial and recreational fishery.

 

 
 


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