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  • José H. Leal

The Amazing Cuttlefish Eye

The wavy, or w-shaped cuttlefish eye has been recently in the news, as scientists keep researching the unique features and properties of cephalopod eyes. Cuttlefish eyes can perform functions that are similar to those in vertebrates, such as the refined three-dimensional vision that allows them to accurately estimate distance and speed of fast-moving prey.


Eye of the Pharaoh Cuttlefish, Sepia pharaonis. ©Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Three-dimensional, or stereoscopic vision in cuttlefish is greatly aided by their ability to swivel their eyes back-and-forth, a talent unknown in other cephalopods. Cuttlefish have only one kind of photoreceptor, but their w-shaped retina allows them to distinguish color wavelengths differently, using polarization of light instead of the distinct kinds of photoreceptors for color vision present in humans and other vertebrates. Visit with our cuttlefish in the Beyond Shells Living Gallery at the Museum. And read more about cuttlefish here.


Eye of the Common Cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis. From Wikipedia.