SPECIES: More­lia viridis

I have a built-in IN­FRARED CAM­ERA

iD magazine - - Nature -

When Mother Na­ture cre­ated the eyes of More­lia viridis, she must’ve been in a rather quirky mood: That’s be­cause this crea­ture’s eyes are good for lit­tle more than dis­tin­guish­ing the dark from the light and per­ceiv­ing move­ment. None­the­less the an­i­mal is a fear­some hunter. It com­pen­sates for its “vis­ual im­pair­ment” with a whole range of other or­gans: Its tongue ab­sorbs odor com­pounds that are iden­ti­fied in the Ja­cob­son’s or­gan lo­cated in the roof of its mouth ( help­ing it to dis­tin­guish prey from preda­tors and de­ter­mine if at­tack or de­fense is in or­der). The up to 10-foot-long am­bush preda­tor can also per­ceive the slight­est vi­bra­tions in its sur­round­ings. But that’s not all: The pit or­gan lo­cated di­rectly be­neath the scales around each eye works like a built- in in­frared cam­era to pro­duce non­stop ther­mal images of po­ten­tial prey. Who still re­lies on eyes, any­way?

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