Byline: Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — It’s not that body parts never wash ashore on Florida beaches. But usually they aren’t eyes the size of a softball.
State wildlife officials worked earlier this month to determine the origin of a giant blue eyeball found by a man Oct. 10 at Pompano Beach, north of Ft. Lauderdale.
They put the eyeball on ice so it could be analyzed at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.
Within hours of the find, agency spokeswoman Carli Segelson said the eyeball likely came from a marine animal.
While there was initial speculation that the eye was from a giant squid or a whale, it was later determined to have come from a large swordfish. Genetic testing will be done to confirm the identification, researchers said.
“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 Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “Based on straight-line cuts visible around the eye, we believe it was removed by a fisherman and discarded.”
Swordfish are commonly caught in the Florida Straits off South Florida this time of year. Swordfish are highly migratory fish and can be found from the surface to as deep as 2,000 feet.
Swordfish in the Atlantic can reach a maximum size in excess of 1,100 pounds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They feed on a wide variety of fish and invertebrates.