Cousin of the starfish lacks eyes but can still see.
A starfish-like creature that lives in the coral reefs of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico lacks eyes, but can still see, Reuters reports.
Scientists who have studied this creature say it expands the boundaries of the sense of sight in the animal kingdom.
Researchers say that the red brittle star, called Ophiocoma wendtii, is only the second creature known to be able to see without having eyes. The other is a single species of sea urchin.
They do this thanks to light-sensing cells, called photoreceptors, covering their bodies, and pigment cells, called chromatophores, that move during the day to facilitate the animal’s dramatic color change from a deep reddish-brown in daytime to a stripy beige at night.
Brittle stars have five radiating arms extending from a central disk, and they’re related to starfish (also called sea stars), sea cucumbers, sea urchins and others in a group of marine invertebrates called echinoderms. They have nervous systems but no brain.