Changing Planet

Giant Mysterious Eyeball Found on Florida Beach

Picture of giant eyeball that washed up on Florida beach
What is it? Photos by Carli Segelson / Fla. FWCC


Update 10/15/12 2:19PM: The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has reported that the ‘mystery eyeball’ appears to be from swordfish. Learn More.

Perhaps reminiscent of the infamous Montauk monster, a giant eyeball has washed up on a Florida beach (as if Florida needed anything else weird). The Internets are buzzing with questions: whose eye is it? What is it?

To us, it looks an awful lot like the giant squid eyeball we recently saw on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian. To find out, we inquired with some of our intrepid National Geographic grantees.

But first, where did the eye come from? According to news reports, the mysterious eye washed up on Florida’s Pompano Beach, where it was found by a beachcomber. Instead of whisking it away, as was the case in Montauk, the fine citizen handed it over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday.

Those scientists put the softball-size eye on ice and sent it to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. A spokesperson for the commission, Carli Segelson, told NBCNews that scientists will use genetic testing to try to figure out who the eye belonged to.

“The primary suspect right now is that it would be a large fish,” Segelson told NBC, such as a swordfish, tuna, or deep-water fish.

We asked Robert L. Pitman, a marine biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service in La Jolla, California, to weigh in. Pitman has received funding from National Geographic to study killer whales.

“It probably is a squid eye–other things with eyes that big (fish, cetaceans) have them imbedded in hard tissue. Squid eyes are in relatively soft tissue and more likely to dislodge as in the photo you sent. A quick DNA analysis could easily sort it out for you,” Pitman explained via email.

However, Segelson told us via phone, “From what I understand there appears to be bones around the eye, so that would rule out a squid.” Segelson added that the commission hopes to have preliminary test results by the end of today.

We also reached out to two squid experts to get their perspective. One declined to comment and we haven’t heard back from the other yet. We’ll keep you posted.

What do you think it is? (Click images to view larger)

Picture of giant eyeball


Picture of giant eye


Brian Clark Howard covers the environment for National Geographic. He previously served as an editor for and E/The Environmental Magazine, and has written for Popular Science,,,, Yahoo!, MSN, and elsewhere. He is the co-author of six books, including Geothermal HVACGreen LightingBuild Your Own Small Wind Power System, and, most recently, Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater.

  • jim

    A whale eye

  • Paul King

    It’s a swordfish eye. I’ve caught several off south Florida

  • Carl W Albritton

    Here is a suggestion: Just hold it in your hands, close your eyes, ask a simple yes or no question, shake it briskly, then wait for the answer to appear.

  • Boomer

    Why would a “squid expert” decline to comment?

  • Jon

    Oh wow… my eye floated all the way to florida.

  • Gary

    Its somebody’s lunch obviously…

  • John Anderson

    Mothra, your eye is in Florida.

  • Tuco

    It is Lord Sauron’s Eye

  • trpclman

    It’s a whale of an eye

  • Bob zesiger

    good job Carl w Albritton from one smart a## to another!

  • rc

    Previw of “final destination 6”

  • Joe

    A new realm of organic photography…

  • Randall

    Carl W Albritton, thank you for the laugh.

  • Bill

    It’s just one of The Residents (minus top hat, tux, and cane).

  • Steven

    It’s Paul Ryan’s…Biden knocked it out last night and it got all the way to FL!

  • Sean
  • pankaj

    is it un identify animal eye than what happen?

  • jim

    dont worry I’ll keep an eye out for whatever it is

  • Johnny Walker

    It’s obviously a weather balloon.

  • nemo

    I know what an eye is, what the hell is on her arm?

  • Don

    It’s a new iphone camera!

  • YO


  • ZimBobWay

    Was’nt Marty Feldman buried at sea?

  • JW

    It looks like a portable sound speaker cone.

  • Scott

    as far as I can tell it’s a squid eye

  • Lauren S

    I’m thinkin’ THE KRAKEN!

  • marissa

    I think it’s Spongebob’s left eye.

  • jojoi
  • Odín

    Could be a Humpback one.

  • Martinho
  • Nick K. van Hackfort

    I think its from a Allien!!

  • James Ghosn
  • leontheafrican

    Perhaps it belongs to a sperm whale

  • amy

    I am going with squid!

  • Aaron B Cole

    Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I’ve got an eye on you!”

  • Alexander Pierrot Meuleman

    This sure is an eye-catcher

  • chuck

    could be one of marty feldmans’ eyeballs.? lol

  • Qaz Janssen

    Just like Paul King wrote, it appears to be a swordfish eye. To help you confirm this, here is a link to a photo of a swordfish eye):
    On this photo you can see the place of the eye ball within the fish’s head:

  • Mees

    a giant squid eye

  • Marion Heintze

    This is a Swordfish Eye

  • Quadro Preto

    God had a car accident…

  • SpaceTraveller

    looks like swordfish eye…waste after fishing.

  • Marisabelle Bonnici

    I’m going with Swordfish

  • Terence

    I believe Paul King is right…. it suprises me though, as to how long the “experts” take to recognise one!!

  • Bojan

    maybe the whale tried to mate with goldfish….unluckily

  • Jeremy

    Why would a Squid expert decline to comment? What a moron. It’s not like we’re asking about national security.

  • Ollie


  • Patrão

    It’s a fish eye

  • Rumplestiltskin

    Why don’t you just taste it. I’m sure its not a chicken’s

  • C.J.

    It belongs to a Swordfish or a Marlin. A quick Google image search and this becomes immediately obvious.

  • dpgj


  • Toofer Flynchman

    Did the other sea creatures eat the rest of the mysterious body, then become too full to eat the eye? And is it common for whale eyes to just pop out?

  • Susana


  • Peter

    Mola mola perhaps?

  • simsim


  • Leon Khorchidian

    it looks like an Oreo Dory fish eye I know they are only found in Australia but the Ocean is big and we have not even scratch the surface of whats down there

  • Zana Flora

    Well, a swordfish lost an eye…

  • OBR

    Eye eye, cap’n!

  • Sara

    “You’ll shoot your eye out.” (A Christmas Story)
    SOMEone should’a listened to mama.

  • Christian Espinel

    Giant Squid.

  • jj

    Is it an eye from the whale that washed up in Australia?

  • arundhati

    Would love to say that it belonged to ‘Mad Eye Moody’! 🙂 On second thoughts…could it be some mineral deposit?…as organic stuff would probably rot away.

  • Sarah F

    First world problems.

  • shan

    First impression is Tuna. Must be a huge one eh

  • Bill Haggerty

    Can’t you use genetic testing the tissue left on the eyeball to determine what it is from?

    • Yep, that’s what Florida scientists are doing now. It takes a little while though.

  • RED

    One Eyed Sponge Bob

  • haybee077

    Alien camera

  • RED

    Hulk Hogans Web Cam

  • gregg

    It’s a magic 8-Ball

  • jess

    all of the pictures I find of swordfish, don’t have such a perfectly round pupil like this one…. Can’t wait to hear what it really is!

  • Arturo

    A squid

  • Tess

    Would it be to far fetched to say, perhaps an octapus. an eyeball from an octapus.

  • Luis


  • Charlie

    Giant Grouper?

  • Kim

    An eye for an eye… It’s a symbolic warning gift from the depths of the sea. And thanks to the magic of technology it now stares back at all of us, as it did the original beachcomber who found it.

  • Christo

    I would tend to a whale’s eye, but answer me this, how many species in the ocean is yet to be discovered?

  • francisco cabello

    looks like a whale eye.

  • Lea

    We will wait for scientiphic testing!!!

  • MGK

    Could it be an aquatic relative of Mike Wazowski’s?

  • Joe Hagy

    I would suggest comparing it to some of the largest flat fish eyes. Especially those that extend upwards from their bodies. Flat fish lie buried during the day and a trawler fishing rig could have easily cut the eye off of a flat fish on the bottom. The larger the flat fish the greater the possibility of that happening.

  • Jeff

    Check with Dexter

  • Jason martin

    A big murray river cod got lost 🙂

  • sparrow

    little kraken

  • CP

    Looks like a sunfish’s eye!

  • francis

    its an eye of tuna

  • amelia

    i think that it belongs to a giant squid or a whale of some type its even might be a creature really deep down and we dont know about because evalution is still going so you can never be too sure about things

  • Joe

    For Pete’s sake, sequence some of the DNA and know for sure.

  • Marcos Uchoa

    It looks like a big fish eye that was problably sucked from another bigger hungry animal and left behind by its bad taste. I have seen this same situation with smaller starved fishes, mainly goldfishes and carps.

  • Ahmed MahmoudIbrahim

    It would be a fish`s eye because of it skin shape and color but which kind of fish?? this is the qestion

  • Sander Schrantz

    It looks like a swordfish eye to me. They live just a few miles off the coast here in Florida, and because they are large, mostly noctural fish, they have very large eyes. It probably got dislodged while being eaten by a shark or accidentaly poked out by a fisherman while gaffing it. Swordfishing in the Florida gulfstream is very popular right now.

  • Sander Schrantz

    Very unlikely a squid eye, the water doesn not get deep enough here for a squid that large.

  • dinnurdin

    It’s look like whale eyeball

  • olfa

    it could be a giant kalamar, i guess

  • franagain

    remember Roswell? it only took 60+ years for an alien eyeball to find its way from a sewer in NM to the Atlantic. It had nothing else to do but grow.

  • Clapttrap

    My eye! You found my eye! And I thought that a Bullymong had it last. Thanks for finding it. Now can I have it back?


  • connie adams

    Its a shark eye.

  • xpez

    Excuse me has anyone seen my pet eyeball it ran away the other day?

  • Raoul Grigsby

    That eye belongs to a large blue fin tuna or that family of fishes.

  • debbie


  • liz

    tuna’s eye left by chinese fisherman from his lunchbox !!

  • richard

    I read the whole thread and the eyes have it!

  • Benji

    so that’s Florida’s one eyed monster…lol

  • ShaotLinc

    I doubt it’s a squid eye. According to my research, cephalopods have square pupils.

  • Luciano

    Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) in my opinion

  • maranda

    It looks like it belongs to a whale not sure what kind of whale but whales are very big and that is a big eye.

  • Clara Tyson

    It’s obviosly a sword fish eye. Just look at pictures.

  • JoeBiden

    “The primary suspect right now is that it would be a large fish,” *GASP* Really?!

  • Jilly

    eye eye!

  • Jaye

    I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s about the right size for a pelagic Lampriform, who – if remember correctly – were commonly depicted as messengers of the Great Dagon of Assyrian Myth. Of course, I nearly failed my Ancient Biologies class at Miskatonic back in 2006, so this might all be a well-crafted hallucination.

  • jim

    its from a Gyarados !!

  • Pet

    Looks like a Sailfish or Swordfish eye-and is about the right size. Probably attacked by a shark since it still looks rather fresh and not clouded over like a carcass eye…

  • One eyed

    It’s Big Brother’s

  • chad

    My, little red ridinghood, what a big eye you have.

  • Alan Parson’s Project

    The Eye in the Sky (formerly)…now, the Eye in the Sand

  • Cameron

    Its pupil is to round for tuna, it resembles a swordfish eye…… but it would have to be the biggest swordfish on record if thats the case. Not a whale eye, looks nothing like a whale eye. Doesnt look like a giant squid eye either, maybe thats ehy a no comment from the expert. Too colorful.

  • Chaz

    Definitely Not the Eye of Sauron!

  • Pet

    It is a swordfish eye

  • Etivac38

    It’s squidwards right eye. Patrick, play nice you little shit!

  • Brian

    When you get the report back from the scientists, please be sure to get us an estimate of how big that fish was.

  • sonja

    probly sucks to be that guy who lost an eye

  • martin black

    I didn’t know Marty Feldman died at sea?

  • Susan

    What makes you so sure it’s an eye??

  • DAWN

    could it be E.T.’s just kidding- I am thinking sword fish.

  • Afroze Chida

    Mitt Romney’s eye

  • Gani nasib

    This is the eye of a large octopus

  • LOL

    Sorry, what did the two “squid experts” have to do that was more important?

  • Richard L Walker

    Looks like it might be a power company insulator from a power pole. lol

  • Kurt Flanagan

    All kidding aside. Come on you guys, “ITS KING NEPTUNE.S EYE”……..

  • McShayne

    It is the eye of a huge fish called (marlin)

  • Joshua Farmer

    “Perhaps reminiscent of the infamous Montauk monster, a giant eyeball has washed up on a Florida beach (as if Florida needed anything else weird). The Internets are buzzing with questions: whose eye is it? What is it?”

    The “internets?” Since when did National Geographic start employing writers that use improper tense and cyber jargon?


  • julius

    that eye is the eye of the giant octupus its BIG.

  • Gihan

    It may be an eye for a little whale

  • Bob

    It’s a swordfish eye

  • Great Scott

    No DNA test needed — just look for the giant fish wearing an eye patch 😮

  • Unanomus

    Though I’m no expert, the ocean is a very mysterious place where new species are discovered time and time again. In my preference, this could be a new (or oversized known) species of deep sea stone fish. Some can grow to extreme sizes and the ocean most definitely has some tricks up its sleeves.

  • Bob…:)

    What makes you sure it’s an eye……. Anyway if u would guess which eye, I would say…swordfish.

  • gar

    I don’t know

  • Demmy

    Turtle eyeball

  • Ben

    It’s the eye of a tuna, no the eye of a shark, washing up on the beaches of our country. It’s the last known survivor of an undersea fight and he’s watching us all in the EYE… of the tiger. Shark. Kraken. Maybe.

  • JB

    It didn’t feel that much pain anyway!

  • আরমান

    A giant robotic eye

  • tey

    So many speculations.DNA fingerprinting will determine the organism. I hope they release the findings soon.

  • Bobby

    The Trollenberg Terror

  • rami ghoson

    this is the eye of destiny. may be a giant squid eye. only the FBI knows.

  • Manny

    Based on the anatomy, and the circumstances under which the specimen was found ( in FL) and the size, this HAS TO BE be the eye of a Hurricane

  • sunshine

    it looks like a tuna eye to me (marlin, blue fin, yellow fin).

  • No Way

    I was walking down the beach the other day, and osmething caught my eye….

  • Felicia

    Im going to say no to any kind of fish, unless its a fish we have yet to discover. Because if thats a fish eye…. that thing was HUGE!

  • Manny

    Was a DNA test done?

  • Manny

    Based on the anatomy, the circumstances under which it was found (in FL), and its size, this thig clearly is the eye of a Hurricane !!!

  • Manny

    Confirmed !!!! See Paul Ryan’s analysis in FoxNews !..

  • OJ


  • E sullivan

    Finally,an eye of a hurricane to study.

  • G-Lopez

    99.9% Certain it is from a Large Ocean Sunfish

  • Matt L

    Megalodon shark!!! 😀 would be awesome!

  • az


  • nala

    What a wonderful and mysterical stoy,but the picture of the enormous size eyeball is so fantabulous.Mabye the eyeball is from the alien,and i’m so looking forward to seeing results.
    That someday i can touch the eyeball with my own hands.

  • marjorie Mitilineos

    a Kraken!

  • Sid

    Not sure, but I’ll keep an eye out for clues.

  • Miguel

    I do not think its a Cephalopod eye, as it seems to have red blood (hemoglobyn) instead of the more blueish blood (hemocyanin).
    Second, Whales (not my specialty), I believe, have eyebrows and eye lashes. Also, the skin should have more visible pores.
    Therefore I believe it is most likely a fish. I can not remember doe what kind of fish have blue filters in their eyes (maybe mesopelagic to deep living).

  • Niko

    Definitely Sardinella zunasi Fukushimencis… Im absolutely sure it is a Manbearpigfishpigeon’s

  • Mohammad reza

    It’s Not EYE !

  • Ibrahim

    Manta ray I think or other species of Manta

  • Lynn Davis

    “Here’s looking at you, kid

  • ranel

    It’s giant webcam!

  • Karen

    Marlin or Swordfish Squid iris is shaped vertically. IF it were giant squid then we should also see sperm whales more frequently on our coast. Where there is food there are predators.

  • Daniel

    Perhaps it is my eye! Who can help me find the other one?

  • BILL

    This does prove there other undicover creatures out there.

  • Carol W Pleake

    Eye was reading posts and my best guess is some sharks eye. Maybe Swordfish.

  • Rich

    Jabba the huts eye

  • Christ

    Its Antichrist eye

  • Brent Tyrone Whetter

    Obviously a gnat.

  • Racquel Morris

    My son Caleb (11) wants to know if this could possibly be the eye of an Ichthyosaurs. The eye sure looks like one found in his dino encyclopedia. Thanks so much!

  • Sophie M.

    I think some really big shark that scientists don’t know about…

  • 黃培淳

    I’m looking forward to know what is that biggest eye.
    I really admire your work!!
    You can know a lot of new things………………..

  • crazy girl

    maby its a whale eye

  • crazy girl

    sword fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  • sean Celecki

    maybe its the awwwww of davy jongs !! Rrrrrrr

  • BermudaTriangle

    Uhhhhh…do I sense a prequel to the movie “Goonies”?

  • Diane

    ok…this is weird….it seems not soft like it said

  • Susan

    I think it could be a whale eye.

  • gshfgdhusbhyi ukm

    awesome i eat these things for breakfast tree dorrar per eryball

  • Danielle

    I have reason to believe that the giant eye is that of a lanternfish;due to the size and color of the eyeball. Lanternfish have humongous eyes because they have to adapt to the depths of the water they live in. The size and color help them to refract the light of other fish so they can eat. I’m just a homemaker with just a small town high school diploma but it just kinda makes sense to me. We’ll see..I can’t wait to hear the news

  • Laila

    It’s a giant Calamar eye!!!!!!!

  • Eljash Com.

    Happy Tree Friends in real life… and seriously, I think it’s squid eye. Or maybe it’s some undiscovered species? By the way I see the similarity between this and this

  • asim

    i think its a whale eye.

  • Tom

    Whoooooo…. lives in a pineapple under the sea!!!!

  • barry

    eye don’t know


    Some giant fish eye…


    Its eye of COLOSIAL SQUID.

  • plaz4

    it may be a whale eye or a GIGANTIC squid eye and has a little chance to be a unknown species.

  • Leo

    It’s from alien!!!

  • igor

    Moby Dick’s

  • S.B Shim

    it assumed that the ocean sunfish’s eye.

  • nanthuu

    it is a alien eye or big fish eye

  • Ananthu Kannan

    it’s better to find what’s eye that is…….. really mysterious…..

  • ehsan

    very very biautifull. Greatness of God

  • Idelond

    It’s the end of days… Free-masons eye logo.

  • Bob

    Its a monkey’s eye for sure.

  • linda

    If I see an eye in the beach, I would call the authorities; bury it; then I will run as fast as I can.

  • Derick steinmann

    well there is many unidentified animals we might have not even discoverd what it is

  • ryann

    Almost all of these comments are retarded. Seriously people, if you don’t have a serious opinion or say, don’t say it. This isn’t YouTube.

  • GabbyIzASmarty!!

    Geez people its not a whale eye!!!! A whale eye a MUCH more simple shape…
    TOTALLY a squid eye……
    And dont say mean comments about me im only 11

  • Mr.Vinh

    Squid , whale , swordfish … just it !

  • Danbo

    eye eye cap’n

  • TheDoctor

    Prisoner Zero has escaped….

  • A little girl with an opinion

    I don’t know for sure but I think maybe from something no one knows about….

  • serg too solid

    Who cares just throw that shit away its nasty.

  • evergreen 47

    Popeye goes good with spinach and olive oil. Possibly the eye from a squid and a seagull flying over the beach might have dropped it . Possibly ripped from the squid in a fight and then washed up on shore. This is one your hair dresser doesnt know for sure. DNA should confirm it.

  • Zhoor zain

    any persone can he save her eyes by prevent dangerous things

  • Matt

    National Geographic…Why are you publishing such “yahoo-news”-quality articles…why… 🙁

  • Patrick


  • Frank

    I just want to know if it eats people so I can send my x-wife there on vacation-

  • Matt

    Its definitely a Swordfish eye. There is a article saying that its a Swordfish eyeball.

  • Mon

    Wow that’s cool that the eyes that big and disgusting and the guy that cut that eye out should probably best tell the scientist WEIRD

  • Mon

    What a EYE

  • Mystery


  • Jonathan
  • Barnet Luo

    man i think it’s a fish eye just take a DNA test.

  • Daren Rivera

    Eye know, cause I dropped my glass eye while snorkeling at Pompano Beach

  • David

    It is Gulliver’s eye and we are all Lilliputians. Science has confirmed.

  • ;Rhoade

    Turn it over! Where’s its optic nerve or remnant of same…???

  • greg

    Sorry Paul! but i have too spoil the intrigue, It is my eye! I lost it recently. Why all the fuss? Can I get it back?

  • azura

    wow big eyeball

  • Sarah

    I think it is from a swordfish, it is bigger than a tuna’s eyeball.
    And they are right, it cannot be a squid’s. Squids’ eyeballs are so squishy!

  • Kim

    the brown eyed girl

  • Thomas Hummelink

    Hey people!

    I just watched a little movie on the website of National Geographic about a Moon fish. When I looked to the eyes I did remember this story. So I think this eye ball supposed to be from a huge Moon fish!


  • Thomas Hummelink

    Correction: I said Moon fish, but I mean Sun fish !! Can we win something cause I am sooo sure !!!

  • Claire

    This is awesome! That is one huge eye and one big Sword Fish if it is coming from one! Always makes me wonder what is out there lurking the depths of our shores. Florida is crawling with interesting sea life and to have the chance to study it is probably a lot of fun and just fascinating. I was just in Florida and saw a washed up dolphin! So sad but things happen 🙁 I was in Palm Bay near my hotel the Palm Bay Hotel ( Besides the dolphin catastrophe, it was a nice stay in PB-cheap and a lot of fun!

  • christian

    thats one big eye

  • Ubaid Ur Rehman Khan

    Could we have DNA….

  • pipin

    just WOW. maybe sea monster eye @.@

  • Sarah N. Hammond

    Whatever it comes from, it sure is a beautiful eye 🙂

  • Mira

    No one knows what is like behind blue eys!

  • Adeem zaman

    Could we have DNA….????

  • Johanna

    obviously it’s a psychedelic jawbreaker

  • gjkgyleryio123

    It is obvious that it is a SQUID EYE! All you have to do is go to Google Images, and it becomes CRYSTAL CLEAR! 😀 This is so cool, and I hope more mysterious finds wash up on shores around the world!

    I’m only in middle school, don’t be mean!

    I want to be a marine biologist so thumbs up! 🙂

  • Joe Sax

    It’s a Beholder. You know, the game. The Eye Of The Beholder…


    the Philosopher’s Stone I guess

  • dave

    I saw an alphabet the other day that was missing an “I” (eye)

  • Dhamma

    My follow up questions are: Why was only the eye ball spared? Where’s the rest of the ‘big fish’? Or how does an eye ball turn up on a beach completely intact from it’s socket? o.O

  • Jim Leigheigh

    Thats obviously a foot from an octopus

  • Brian K. Vincent

    So….its a year later. What is it?

  • Lynette

    It is an eyePod.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media