A winner has finally been declared in last week’s great debate. No, not the Biden vs. Ryan matchup. We’re referring to the 2012 Mystery Eyeball Debate! After a massive, lone eyeball washed up on the Pompano Beach shore, scientists, anglers and just about everyone else weighed in on what type of sea creature could have grown – and lost! – an eye that big. Guesses included a giant squid, the bigeye thresher shark, a great white, or perhaps a marlin or some other large billfish. Well, the mystery seems to be solved…the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission says they now know:
After examining an eye found on a south Florida beach this week, researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) believe the specimen came from a swordfish. Genetic testing will be done to confirm the identification.
“Experts on site and remotely have viewed and analyzed the eye, and based on its color, size and structure, along with the presence of bone around it, we believe the eye came from a swordfish,” said Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. “Based on straight-line cuts visible around the eye, we believe it was removed by a fisherman and discarded.”
The approximately softball-size eye was recovered by a citizen in Pompano Beach on Wednesday. FWC staff received the eye later that day. Swordfish are commonly fished in the Florida Straits offshore of south Florida at this time of year.
A highly migratory fish, swordfish can be found from the surface to as deep as 2,000 feet. Swordfish in the Atlantic can reach a maximum size of over 1,100 pounds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Swordfish feed on a wide variety of fish and invertebrates.