MISSION AND VISION
It is general knowledge that eyes are necessary for vision in both human and non-human animals. But scientists recently discovered that some species have adapted to see without eyes. Scientists called it having “extraocular vision,” allowing animals to see with alternative body parts that can function similar to the eyes. It was a team of scientists led by Lauren Sumner-rooney at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History who hypothesized that the Ophiocoma wendtii could see despite the absence of eyes. To test this, the brittle stars were put in the middle of a marine test area with obstacles and black bars as shelter to find out if they were capable of finding cover. It turned out that the brittle stars were able to find the black bars as shelter with the presence of light. This further strengthens the idea that the brittle star Ophiocoma wendtii can really see viable images. Brittle stars are fascinating creatures who have adapted to see the world in the absence of eyes. They utilize their opsins to create viable images to see the world from their perspective. Scientists are only beginning to understand how brittle stars perceive the world around them. The Ophiocoma wendtii is a unique brittle star because currently, it is the only one to have extraocular vision not deprived by chromatophore activity.