Always look on the bright side of life (despite having no eyes)
January 4, 2020 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Red brittle stars have no eyes, but can still see. Researchers said on Thursday that the red brittle star, called Ophiocoma wendtii, joins a species of sea urchin as the only creatures known to be able to see without having eyes -- known as extraocular vision. They are not simply detecting brightness versus darkness (lots of eyeless creatures can do that), but seeing images. They have a nervous system but no brain. [Lead author's Twitter feed] [Brittlestars previously]
posted by heatherlogan (15 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Direct link to the journal article [pdf].
posted by heatherlogan at 6:58 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


This is amazing, thank you for sharing it!
posted by daisyk at 7:09 AM on January 4


The paper is also available in HTML.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 7:41 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: They have a nervous system but no brain.
posted by mule98J at 8:44 AM on January 4 [8 favorites]


Take that, occularily-equipped humans! Not so fancy now, are you?
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:11 AM on January 4


Imma let you finish, but the related article about the transient anus has made my week.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:13 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


There was a paper a year or so ago that showed that octopus also sense light through their skin (and perhaps squid and cuttlefish as well).
posted by dhruva at 9:57 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I have no eyes, and I must see.
posted by Myca at 11:24 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Transient anus previously on metafilter!
posted by moonmilk at 11:42 AM on January 4


And next on BBC Six Music - Transient Anus.

Starfish are splendid animals, and like so many marine lifeforms remind us that we normally see a rather dull and limited range of morphologies and configuration that made it onto land and into the air. Water liberates.

Seeing through your skin has been claimed by some humans too, in that strange nexus of Soviet pseudoscience and Western credulity about psychic phenomena that hung around the mid-late 20th century.
posted by Devonian at 1:29 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


They have a nervous system but no brain.
This is a bad time in history to dare me to get started on that.
My fellow humans.
posted by Twang at 2:47 PM on January 4


Hey, weren't brittlestars the basis of the aliens in Blind Sight?
posted by flyingfox at 10:16 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


They have a nervous system but no brain.

Or maybe their nervous system is ALL BRAIN...
posted by The Tensor at 3:22 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


They have a nervous system but no brain.

Today we learn that the nervous system evolved before cortex.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 3:51 AM on January 5


14 inches from arm tip to arm tip

Brittlestar Gargantua!
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:23 PM on January 5


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