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Researchers in Museums


Engaging the public with research & collections


Question of the week:

Do single-eyed animals really exist?

By rmjllil, on 15 April 2015

In many cultures and films there are stories about one-eyed monsters. This week I answer the question whether single-eyed animals exist in reality.

A lady visiting the Grant Museum the other day found the elephant skull very fascinating as it didn’t look like what she expected. The hole in the middle of the front of the skull reminded her of the one-eyed Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey. You might have made the same observation when visiting the museum. But do one-eyed animals exist outside Greek mythology and Hollywood? The answer is yes. And they are everything but big monsters. There are 44 species of the genus Cyclops, also known as water fleas, all with a single eye that is either red or black. Cyclops are between 0.5-3 mm long, have 5 pairs of limbs on the head and another 7 pairs of limbs on the mid-body. They also have 2 pairs of antennae. Their average lifespan is 3 months. Cyclops live in fresh water across Britain and they are very common in slow rivers and canals, particularly among weeds. If you collect some water and examine it you’re likely to find some Cyclops. And there’s no need to fear this tiny one-eyed animal.

Source: Microscope UK


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Do single-eyed animals really exist?

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