The mystery behind the softball-sized eyeball discovered by a man walking along a beach in the US state of Florida last week has been solved by researchers, who believe the giant orb belonged to a swordfish.
“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 Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
After biologists analyzed the large blue eye, they noticed “straight-line cuts” around the orb, which led them to believe that the eyeball was cut out by a fisherman and then discarded into the ocean. Genetic testing will be conducted to confirm the exact identification, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a press release.
Worldwide attention was drawn to the mysterious eyeball after Gino Covacci discovered it while taking a walk Wednesday morning along Pompano Beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Peninsula.
“It was very, very fresh. It was still bleeding when I put it in the plastic bag,” Covacci told the Orlando Sentinel.
After discovering the object, Covacci brought it to wildlife officers who could not determine immediately what organism the eyeball came from, but believed it was likely from a marine animal since it was found on the beach.
During this time of year, swordfish are commonly fished in the area of Florida where the eyeball was found. In the Atlantic Ocean, swordfish can be as large as 1,100 pounds (close to 500 kgs) and can be found as far as 2,000 feet (609 meters) deep in the ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A variety of other aquatic life inhabits the oceanic waters off the coast of southern Florida, including swordfish, hammerhead sharks, manatees, octopus and squid.