Eyes are one of the most successful evolutionary advantages of life on Earth, and in their 540 million years of existence, they’ve have adapted to suit some pretty unique behaviors and environments. Below are some of the most amazing eyes in the animal kingdom.
1. Dragonfly Eyes
Dragonflies are apex predators of the insect world, due in large part to their incredible compound eyes. Made up of over 30,000 microscopic lenses called ommatidia, dragonfly eyes wrap around the animal’s entire head, giving it a full 360-degree field of vision. As a result, dragonflies can detect colors and polarized light, and are extremely sensitive to movement—all useful abilities that allow them to swipe prey from midair in a fraction of a second.
2. Leaf-Tailed Gecko Eyes
If you were asked to name an animal with near-perfect night vision, you would probably name an owl or a cat. But even an owl has nothing on the humble leaf-tailed gecko, which can see 350 times better in the dark than a human can. For comparison, an owl can only see 100 times better at night than a human, and a cat can see about 6 times better. Geckos owe their incredible adaptation to specially adapted vertical pupils packed with light-sensitive cells.
3. Mantis Shrimp Eyes
The mantis shrimp has the most complex eyes of any known animal. Each stalk eye is divided into three sections, allowing the animal to see objects with three different parts of the same eye. In other words, if the shrimp lost an eye, it would still be able to judge depth and distance with its one eye just as well as a human can with two. In addition to seeing ultraviolet, infrared, and polarized light, mantis shrimp can see far more colors than we can, having 12 color receptors instead of a human’s measly three.
4. Chameleon Eyes
Chameleons are unique in two ways: firstly, their ability to change color to express their mood and intentions to other chameleons; and secondly, their amazing eyes. Chameleon eyes are fused, covering almost the entire eyeball except a small hole for the pupil. This gives them the stereoscopic vision they need to capture prey by rapidly shooting out their tongues, a technique that requires very precise distance and depth perception. Chameleons are also able to move each eye independently of one another, giving them a full 360-degree field of vision.
Get the Best Raleigh Eye Care at Raleigh Eye Center
Your eyes might not be able to see in ultraviolet or infrared, but they’re still important to your everyday health—so be sure to take them in for a checkup at least once a year. If you need Raleigh eye care or Raleigh LASIK surgery, call Raleigh Eye Center to schedule an appointment.