CHICAGO — Sunburst diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) larvae possess a grand total of 12 eyes, four of which are naturally bifocal, researchers reported October 17 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting. These marine beetle larvae are voracious predators, tracking and eating mosquito larvae. The 12 eyes span the head, giving the beetle larvae a panoramic view of the world. Annette Stowasser and her colleagues at the University of Cincinnati found that the four most prominent eyes on these aquatic hunters hold several retinas apiece, allowing the eyes to clearly focus on objects at two distinct distances. Stowasser and her colleagues speculate that the strange eyes might help beetle larvae better spy prey. The researchers are particularly interested in understanding how and why the beetle larvae’s unusual visual system evolved. —Laura Sanders
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