A peek into our collections, one object at a time

Giant Squid Eye

April 5, 2011
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Giant Squid Eye, 2008
Kelly Carnes, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

Giant Squid Eye, 2008

Giant squid have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom—at up to 10 inches in diameter, they are the size of a dinner plate. These massive organs allow giant squid to detect objects in the lightless depths where most other animals would see nothing.

The giant squid is among the largest invertebrates on Earth—with lengths measuring nearly 60 feet. Giant squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are known to be aggressive hunters.

The eyes, on either side of the head, each contain a hard lens. An image is focused by changing the position of the lens, as in a camera or telescope, rather than changing the shape of the lens, as in the human eye.

This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is not currently on display.

More information at http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life-ecosystems/giant-squid