Thanks to The Atlantic‘s Alexis Madrigal, we have some coverage of this topic that we had honestly never thought about, but which makes total sense now that we have some information about it. Eyes matter in ways more than just the obvious practical:
Unless you are an avid scuba diver, when you think of scallops, you probably think of linguine and garlic more than oceans and shells. That’s because we only eat the muscle of the scallop: You never see them in context.And so … one of the most shocking things I discovered researching animal vision was that scallops have eyes! Not only do they have eyes, they have dozens of them along the edges of their shell openings. And the weirdest part? In some species like the bay scallop, the eyes are the prettiest blue color.Gah! Try and saute up some scallops tonight after seeing that photograph. I dare you.These eyes are not exactly competing with eagle eyes for visual acuity. But they do have some very strange and interesting features, as Sonke Johnsen explains in his surprisingly readable and fun book, The Optics of Life: A Biologist’s Guide to Light in Nature. Each of these eyes has a tapeta, which is a biological mirror that sits on the back of the retina. In most nocturnal species, the tapetum (singular form) bounces light back through retina, allowing the photoreceptors in animals like cats and raccoons a second shot at capturing more light, which is key for seeing in very dim conditions.
Read the rest of the story here.