Scallops use Mirrors for eyes


Scallops eyes mirror telescopes.scallops-31

In the daily Bible Readings for January 1st*, Genesis Chapters 1& 2 tell of the creation of the earth, its plants animals and ultimately, man.

Genesis Ch.1 verse 21 reads ‘And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Here we can see that The Bible, God’s Word, states that He created all living creatures ‘after their kind’ and later in that chapter we read (Gen 1:31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

So,we are being told that the species were fixed from Creation onward, and that they would continue to breed ’after their kind’. There is no suggestion that life emerged from the sea as a single cell which by gradually making slight changes ‘evolved’ into all the wonderful diversity which we see in the world today.

Let’s look at one unusual creature that stands alone as an individual, specific Creation; which could not have evolved from anything else because the structure of its eye is so different from the rest of the Animal Kingdom. In fact it shares this eye structure with just one other, a deep water fish.

Scallop's eyes created differently 

The eyes of all other creatures work on the same principle, they have a retina and a lens- the lense focuses and bends the light passing through it onto the retina at the back of the eye, which passes the image to the brain.

But the humble Scallop’s eyes are different. First of all they have lots of eyes, from 10 to 100plus, which are a of a beautiful blue and are arranged along the edges of their shell openings. Each eye contains tiny mirrors, like the big telescopes do, and the mirrors don’t focus light like a lens does they just reflect it.a scallop

These mirrors are a masterpiece of construction! They are made of crystals of guanine which is a highly reflective material that occurs throughout the animal kingdom in various guises such as fish scales and chameleon skin, for example. Usually, these crystals don’t grow into a perfect shape, but with the scallop they do, forming perfect squares with a smooth shiny surface —just like a telescope mirror. And these tiny mirrors are made up of 20 to 30 layers of crystals, closely tiled together, like a mosaic.

Fearfully and wonderfully made

The make up of these eyes has been known for some time but, how they worked was a mystery. However, according to a report in ‘Science’, scientists have used computer simulations to uncover the secret. Its all to do with how the light strikes the eye. Apparently when light comes in straight, it hits the upper of the scallop’s two retinas. But when light comes in at an angle, it hits the lower retina, and this enhances the scallop’s peripheral vision in low light. Scallops use their eyes as an 'early-warning' system, scanning around them for movement and shadows which could potentially indicate predators. Once they see a threat they can swim off to safety. However, Science still can’t explain how this lowly creature is able to absorb and make sense of images from 200 lenses all at once! And yet it does! Truly we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’! (Psalm 139:14)thumbnailimage.img

The only other creature which uses mirrors in its optic system is a deep sea fish happily named the ‘brownsnout spookfish’ and its relative the ‘glasshead barreleye’ . These use both optic systems as they have a normal lens plus a mirror made of the same reflective plates as the Scallop so they can see better in strong and poor light.

Here in this diagram of the eye of a 'brownsnout spookfish' we see the light on the right coming through the lens straight onto the retina and the light on the left bouncing off the mirrors back on to the retina

Jesus, the Light of the World

When we read the opening chapters of Genesis, its hard not to be amazed by the simplicity and brevity of the description of Creation, especially when we consider the amazing diversity of detail which has gone into forming all the differing creatures as well as plants, fungi and so on. And when we look at the Natural world we see all around us clear evidence of design in Creation.  But, while we can be truly staggered by the sheer power and creativity of God; the Book of Genesis also illuminates His great Purpose. In V 3 we read And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And the Gospel of John in its opening chapter speaks of another kind of darkness- spiritual darkness And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not’ (John 1:5)– Darkness- which the Lord Jesus came to dispel for John calls him ‘the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’.(John 1:9) and the Lord Jesus confirmed that this was his role saying in John 8:12 I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Just as God has provided the humble scallop with eyes to see clearly danger and head towards safety; so He has provided, for those who follow Jesus, the light of the Gospel so that they will not walk in darkness. May we use our eyes to see the troubles which are shortly to come upon the world and which warn us of Christ’s return. And thus see the way to safety, ‘in Christ’

Revelation 16:15  Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments . Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

 *For the Daily Readings, Check ‘The Bible in the year’ on this website and click on ‘chapters for January’ or whatever month you require. Alternatively go to, for the day’s readings and helpful comments.