It’s time once again to talk about weird animals, and Halloween is approaching fast. With that in mind, let’s get-
with a denizen of the deep sea. It’s-
Also called the Spookfish, the Barreleye can be found in the lightless depths of temperate and tropical seas worldwide. It’s about six inches long, rarely encountered by humans, and oh did I mention that its eyes are on the inside of its own freaking face.
JEEPERS CREEPERS WHERE’D YOU GET THOSE PEEPERS.
Those unnerving milky spheres are its eyeballs. Which as you can see, are completely on the inside of its head. Or so they seem! While this huge weirdo’s eyeballs are on the inside of its own face, they aren’t technically inside its head. It’s complicated! The clear dome containing the eyeballs is actually an extension of skin and connective tissue; the Barreleye’s actual skull is underneath those nightmare eyeballs.
(No, that really doesn't make it better.)
The Barreleye’s smaragdine orbs are incredibly light sensitive, able to detect the faint glow of the small shrimp and invertebrates they eat even in absolute darkness. Their big ol’ peepers are usually pointing straight up to look for food higher in the water column, but the Barreleye can point them forward as well. (Imagine a set of floodlights that rotate at the base.) And while it’s too late to save your brain from that mental image, you can at least be reassured that Barreleyes only rarely interact with humans. But still, they’re down there, somewhere.
1. Brauer, A, Wikimedia Commons
2. Jessica Chen, NOAA