Top 10 Animals That Evolved To Not Need Eyes

When you stop to think about it for a moment, there are actually a lot of animals that don’t have eyes. Jellyfish, Hydras, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, worms, and many more critters never evolved a means of looking around, and instead, use other means to make their way in the world.

Other than those animals, there are some that either had eyes at one point in their evolutionary history, and lost them over time, or they evolved eyes that were later rendered incapable of seeing. Whatever their evolutionary niche, these ten interesting animals lost their ability to see the world around them but found innovative ways of surviving.

Blind Legless Lizard – Dibamus Dalaiensis

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A new species of legless lizard was discovered in 2011, and as the name suggests, it’s completely blind. These interesting animals have some of the characteristics of snakes but fall under the Dibamidae family of blind skinks. Though they look similar, they have external ears, and depending on the gender, they may have small protuberances where legs would normally be located. The new species was discovered in Cambodia and marks the first time an animal of its kind was located in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Blind Legless Lizard of Cambodia evolved not to need eyes, as it spends nearly its entire life burrowing through the soil. According to one researcher, when it comes to eyes, “Those adaptations are simply a waste of energy when you’re working your way through underground tunnels.” Legless lizards evolved prior to snakes, and many species, including this newly discovered one, are threatened. D. dalaiensis, as far as any researcher is aware, lives in a small area on a single mountain in Cambodia, which is under threat from logging and other industries.

Brazilian Blind Characid – Stygichthys Typhlops

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In the caves of Minas Gerais, Brazil, lives the Brazilian Blind Characid, a species of cave-adapted fish, which has evolved to no longer need eyes, or pigmentation. Like other species of tetra, they are small fish, measuring up to 1.8″ (4.6 cm), and live a relatively solitary life in their cave ponds. In the wild, they are becoming rarer, due, in large part, to a reduction in the local water table, which has resulted in the drying up of numerous ponds and streams. Despite their decline int the wild, they are sometimes kept in aquariums as pets, where they are prized for their unique features.

The fish was initially discovered in the 60s and was later rediscovered in the early 2000s. Since that time, only a limited population has been studied in their native habitat, as well as in laboratories, where their behavior could be monitored. They have no reaction to light, and there are no visible eyes, where they would normally be located in other tetra species. They are the last remaining species of Stygichthys, and there was once a surface variant, but habitat loss has likely resulted in its extinction. The Brazilian Blind Characid is limited to a 25km-long aquifer and is threatened by habitat loss due to a lowering of the local water table.

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