Follow TV Tropes


Eye on a Stalk

Go To
All those eyes must surely give her a greater perspective on galactic affairs.note 

When designing a creature of some sort, a very good way to make them look weird is to mount their eyes (or eye) atop a pair of stalks.

As many other Eye Tropes have proven, messing with the eyes in any way is a sure-fire way to attract a few cocked eyebrows. Eyestalks tend to be very long and tentacle-like, and given the association between tentacles and Eldritch Abominations, it's no surprise that sticking some eyes on top of them would have that effect. In rare cases, the eyes themselves are stalk-shaped. It certainly helps that eyestalks in Real Life are associated with such 'icky' creatures as slugs and crabs. If a monster or a character has eyestalks and isn't antagonistic in some way, odds are they're Creepy Good, or at least quirky. Of course, some may just consider them Ugly Cute.

Is exceedingly common in clip art. Look up 'Cartoon Alien' on Google images, and you'll see eyestalks a-plenty.

Is a Sub-Trope of Eyes Do Not Belong There, as the weirdness factor comes from putting eyes in a place people aren't used to seeing them. May often overlap with Cyclops or Extra Eyes. Contrast with Oculothorax, in which the eye is so deep within the creature that it makes up the near-entirety of their body (though these are not mutually exclusive). See also Sensory Tentacles.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In episode 24a of Jewelpet: Magical Change, Ruby's attempt to make Labra's potted plant bloom with magic instead causes it to become sapient and gain a pair of eyes on eyestalks. This is a Japanese Visual Pun - "me" can mean either "sprout" or "eye".
  • The aliens in Parasyte have stalk eyes and pseudopods that they can retract and extend at will.
  • Wicked City: Black Guard member Taki Renzaburou is attacked by two demons at an airport. One of the creatures detaches its head from the rest of its body and attacks him. He shoots it, but its eyeballs pop out of the head on stalks and it continues to approach him.
  • One-Punch Man has Slugrus. Being some sort of humanoid slug, he has a pair of long eyestalks.
  • Midori from Space Patrol Luluco has a third eye on a stalk as part of her alien heritage, though the actual stalk is usually hidden under her hair.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace:
      • The movie introduces the podracer Mawhonic, a member of the Gran, a species of stocky goat-like aliens with three eyes on stalks arranged in a pyramidal fashion. Several other members of the species have been seen throughout the expanded universe.
      • Gungans, including Jar Jar Binks, have eyes on short stalks.
    • In A New Hope, the creature lurking in the trash compactor (the Dianoga) has an eye on a stalk, which lets it see above the surface while the rest of its body remains submerged.
  • The Thing (1982): The spider-like thing that splits off from a duplicated body grows eyestalks to see with.
  • Numerous aliens throughout the Men in Black series have eyestalks, along with just about every other alien design trope, seeing as though they run the gamut from Human Aliens to Starfish Aliens.
  • An excellent example in Monty Python's Life of Brian. Yes, eye stalks in a movie set around 1 A.D.
  • A Discussed Trope in Queen of Outer Space with the astronauts speculating that they're about to make First Contact with Little Green Men with eyes on stalks (which they admit would be handy for looking behind you). Instead they encounter a Lady Land of gorgeous dames in miniskirts.
  • In Zathura, the Zorgons keep several goat-like animals that have four of these.

  • Animorphs: The Andalites are centauroid aliens with no mouths, two large eyes where a human's would be, and two eyes on flexible stalks on top of their heads which give them 360-degree vision.
  • The Poglites in Cakes in Space have their eyes shoot up from the holes in the tops of their torsos on stalks.
  • Carnival in a Fix: One of the main characters, Mr. Jinks, has his eyes positioned on stalks located on either side of his head.
  • The many Eldritch Abominations of the Cthulhu Mythos are often depicted with plenty of writhing eyestalks, amidst all the tentacles and extra mouths. In fact, just about all of them besides Cthulhu himself will be seen with these in some artwork, given that their appearances are not too clearly defined, being Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and all.
  • Goosebumps: The Monster of the Week in the book The Girl Who Cried Monster has pitch black eye stalks in his true form (along with green skin) when he is not posing as a Human being.
  • Robert A. Heinlein was rather fond of this trope; Willis the Martian "bouncer" in Red Planet can extrude three eye stalks, while the Venerian dragons in Between Planets have up to eight eyestalks, of which at least the last pair only grow in as the dragon reaches full adulthood. Worth noting that both sorts of creatures are intelligent, friendly people (one Earth-woman in Between Planets does react to a Venerian dragon as if it were a horrible monster; it is made quite clear that she is a bigot and a fool).

    Live-Action TV 


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Beholders are giant floating ball creatures with a huge central eye and numerous writhing eyestalks all over their head, each of which can project an Eye Beam imbued with a different spell's power.
    • The eye of the deep is similar to the beholder: it has one large central eye in its body and two smaller eyes on long stalks. These small eyes can create an illusion while acting together and cast hold person and hold monster when acting independently.
    • Spectators are beholder-like creatures with four small eyes on stalks. The eyes have the magical powers of create food and water, cause serious wounds, paralyzation ray and telepathy.
    • The flumph has two four-inch-long eyestalks sticking out of the sides of its mouth. These are flexible enough to allow their owner to peer over its body's rim to see what's going underneath them when flying and can be retracted into the body, which flumphs usually do when sleeping.
    • The froghemoth has three eyes on three-foot long retractable eyestalks. While hiding underwater, it uses them to peek out above the surface to find prey.
    • Giant crabs have eyestalks sticking out of their heads like normal crabs.
    • The gorbel has six small eyes on short retractable stalks equally spaced around its spherical body.
    • Hordlings have random body parts. They have a 16% chance of having eyes on stalks.
    • The otyugh and neo-otyugh each have a stalk with multiple eyes on it that rises out of their bodies.
    • The wolf-in-sheep's-clothing is a plant that looks like a tree stump with tentacles. It has two or three eyestalks that it uses to target its prey.
    • In the 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual, crabmen are changed to look like giant crabs walking on their hind legs and given eyes on stalks.

  • Star Monsters:
    • Nun has them. The star it was made from landed in an optician's building.
    • Pipo, quite literally; she landed on a sunflower and has three shoots with an eye on each.
    • Filmon has them. It missed a red crab as it was falling, so the eyes on a stalk are to telegraph its crustacean shape.

    Video Games 
  • Alekon: Orashells have their Black Bead Eyes on stalks. In their case it's Justified, them being crustaceans and all.
  • All the snails in Bug Fables, like the snail of The Traveling Caravan, Numbnail, and Ironnail, along with Dead Lander α all have their eyes on stalks.
  • The Gran aren't the only Star Wars race to have these. Knights of the Old Republic features the Rakata, an ancient race with a pair of frog-like eyes sticking out the sides of their ludicrously tall foreheads.
  • World of Warcraft takes this trope to its logical conclusion, featuring an enemy in Naxxramas that is literally a giant eyestalk sticking out of a hole in the ground. This game also features the Makrura, a race of humanoid Lobsters with eyestalks to match.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal has the Tyhrranoids, the principal Mooks of Dr. Nefarious' army. The 'Noids have a varying number of prominent eyestalks, ranging from one to nine. The more eyes they have, the stronger they are. The Big Momma Tyhrranoid, pictured above, is the strongest of 'em all.
  • The Metroid franchise: The Zeela, a creature that appears in Kraid's Hideout in the original Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission and the jungle area of Brinstar in Super Metroid, has two eyes on the end of long stalks.
  • One of the bosses from Space Channel 5 has these, which also serve as its weak point during the latter half of the battle. The Morolians might have these as well; it's not clear whether they see out of the television screens on their chests or not.
  • Most members of the Grubdog family in Pikmin have cartoonish eyes on stalks.
  • From Pokémon, we have Sigilyph and some species of Unown. Sigilyph is a three-eyed winged totem with an eyestalk that looks like a head, while some of the Unown exaggerate this trope by being an eyestalk and nothing else (sometimes upside-down, though).
  • Martians in the Commander Keen series have eyes on stalks.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: Phytops is an ivy/octopus hybrid which has eyes in its lower tentacle-like branches. When Link is climbing atop the Ocean Temple to confront it, he first has to use the Whip to grab some thorns and shoot them at the branches' eyes in order to remove them and keep climbing.
  • The Orz of the Star Control series have eyestalks, which only adds to their general weirdness.
  • The literal Mooks (as in, that's what they're actually called in-game) from the Mother series have eyestalks along with a regular eye and multiple tentacles.
  • Spore has some eye parts like this that you can put on your creature if you want to.
  • Ize from Robot Rascals has its eyes on stalks.
  • Giana Sisters DS: Two types of enemies -Eyes and Killer Eyeballs- have four tiny eyestalks attached to their main, larger eye.
  • The Sapling has a variety of different types of eyestalks in its creature editor, all with their own range of visible light wavelengths and field of view.

    Web Original 
  • Alphabet Lore: Q has a pair of long stalk-shaped eyes and resembles a slug.
  • The Flying Spaghetti Monster is typically depicted with these. Although the eyestalks in this case are technically strands of spaghetti, which only serves to highlight its absurdity even more.
  • The Monster Girl Encyclopedia has the Gazer monster, the Cute Monster Girl version of the Beholder and is simultaneously a cyclops (what with the big eye in their head and all) and not (what with all those eyes on their stalks and all). Much like beholders they are extremely dangerous and can use something More than Mind Control on the man that captures their fancy... as well as mind control. Hey, gotta get that guy to look past the great big yellow eye in the middle of her head somehow!

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Stinkfly has four eyestalks arranged around its head, with the Omnitrix symbol in the middle resembling a single large eye; possibly an allusion to insects with patterns designed to mimic another creature.
  • Camp Lazlo: Slinkman, being a banana slug, has eye stalks.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The Alien Brain Visitor from "Car Broke, Phone Yes" has two eyestalks jutting from his brain-like head.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Wilt's eyes are on a pair of crooked stalks, although one of them doesn't work due to an accident from long ago.
  • Futurama: The Nibblonians each have a third eye on a stalks.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: The brain-eating meteor has one long eyestalk, which functions as a throat when his eye briefly splits open as a mouth.
  • King: A number of denizens in under have their eyes on stalks.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The giant eels in "Gauntlet of Fire" have a third eye on a thin stalk growing from their foreheads.
    • The fishlike creature seen among the show's nonspecific background monsters, in addition to a single central eye, has two smaller ones at the end of long stalks.
  • Oscar And Friends: Bugsy has his eyes on stalks above his head.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Gary and Mr. Krabs have eye stalks, appropriate for their respective species (snail and crab, respectively). In Krab's case, the eyeballs are stalk-shaped, which is true of some crab species. In Gary's case, the eyes are at the ends of tentacles. Interestingly enough in real life, the only snails to have eyestalks are terrestrial pulmonate snails. Both can still blink like a human.
    • Spongebob himself gets his eyes on stalks in the Face Freeze episode, as a result of gurning too much.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Meebur Gascon's species, which resemble humanoid Snails, fittingly possess these.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television for mollusks and crabs, as mentioned in the description. They give animals a wider field of vision, and often have scent organs mounted on them alongside. Depictions of animals with eyestalks in fiction often tend to exaggerate them or remove them entirely.
  • Some of the most exaggerated eyestalks in nature can be found on the aptly-named Stalk-Eyed Flies. Notably, they form them after emerging from their pupae to ingest air and pump it to their eyestalks to make them as long as they are, essentially inflating them.
  • Hammerhead sharks are uniquely odd-looking due to their horizontal protrusions with eyes on opposite ends. This adaptation gives the sharks a 360 degree view of their surroundings.