Marine worms with giant eyes: a wonder that fascinates scientists

The oceans still hide many little-known wonders, such as marine worms with giant eyes. Let's see what the studies say about it

In the depths of oceans, bizarre and fascinating creatures hide among the rocks and sandy seabeds. Among these, the marine worms belonging to the Phyllodocidae family and the Alciopini group, known for a peculiar characteristic: their giant eyes. Imagine having eyes that weigh approx 50 kilograms: this is the case of these small animals, where the eyes they reach disproportionate dimensions compared to the rest of the body, about 20 times larger than the head. A characteristic that has always intrigued scientists, especially considering that they are predominantly nocturnal creatures. A recent study, published in the journal Current Biology, has finally revealed some mysteries related to the sight of these marine animals. Thanks to sophisticated analyses, researchers have discovered that their visual abilities match the exceptional size of their eyes.

Marine worms with giant eyes: what is the use of such powerful vision?

Phyllodocidae worms possess high spatial acuity, distinguishing minute objects with great precision. Additionally, their temporal vision is excellent, allowing them to follow the movements quickly. Characteristics typically associated with vertebrates, arthropods and cephalopods, but never before observed in this type of invertebrate. But there is a question that still fascinates scientists. Various hypotheses have been formulated: these invertebrates could use their acute vision to identify prey, to recognize one another or to communicate visually via bioluminescenzaa phenomenon that allows them to emit light.

Only future research, conducted during new shipments to Ponza, a collection site for the specimens studied, will be able to reveal the true purpose of this exceptional sight. THE marine worms with giant eyes they therefore represent a fascinating enigma of the marine world, demonstrating to us once again the extraordinary diversity and complexity that hides in the depths of the oceans. Their story is an invitation to continue exploring and discovering the wonders that our planet holds.

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