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Discovery Magazine 3/1/2005

Anableps Anableps – the “Four – Eyed” Fish

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

Sometimes, big surprises come in small packages. It might be a fellow giving his girl friend a giant 3-carat diamond ring—wrapped in a tiny jewelry box. Or, it might be a split-level eye—embedded in a small fish.

A split-level eyein a fish? Yes. These fish, known as Anableps anableps, are small fish roughly four to ten inches long. They travel in schools, and inhabit freshwater lagoons or brackish (slightly salty) waters in Central and South America. As an Anableps swims, the waterline hits in the middle of its eye, causing half of its eye to be under the water, and half out of the water. Interestingly, there is a slender row of epithelial (body-tissue) cells that divides the eye into approximately two halves—which makes it look as if the Anableps has four eyes (but it has only two).

Even more interesting is the fact that Anablepscan see abovewater, and belowwater—at the same time! Inside Anableps’ eye, the retina is divided into two portions—upper and lower. Images arriving from the water strike the upper portion, while images arriving from the air strike the lower part. Thus, Anablepscan keep a lookout above the water for enemies (birds) or food (insects), while simultaneously looking under the water for enemies (bigger fish) or food (algae or shrimp). Incredible design, isn’t it? [Have you ever gotten in trouble, and thought to yourself, “My Mom must have ‘eyes in the back of her head,’ because she sees everything I do?!” Here’s a creature that is so well designed, it almost fits that description—because it sees up and down all at once!]

Evolutionists assume that genetic mutations “somehow” caused Anablepsto “evolve” split-level eyes, and that natural selection “somehow” favored an eye with two distinct retinal regions. But could “nature” have produced the complicated two-part retina, and the brain connections needed to translate the two images being received by the brain—and do all of this in one fish, at one time? Hardly. Mutations and natural selection cannot do such things. But God can, as Moses pointed out when he spoke of the Great Designer Who created “every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind…” (Genesis 1:21).

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