I have only gone on a fishing trip once in my life, and I was not too fond of it. I wonder now, however, if I would have enjoyed the experience more if I could have cast my rod out to sea and snagged a big beautiful, pulsating, throbbing, uncut ‘penis fish?’ Probably not. In fact, if I would have come across one of these weird looking things, I would freak out beyond consolation.
You may have seen this oddity all over the internet recently, looking like a dong detached from its owner, wriggling in peoples’ hands, resembling something that should be battery operated and used in private.
It looks totally cray-cray, but in reality, it’s just nature giving us yet another flash of all its glory. What you are witnessing is a species of worm classified as Urechis caupo. More commonly, its official name is Fat InnKeeper Worm.
For the record, I hate worms – especially fat ones.
Though a bit of a mystery at first, it is believed that a recent storm in the Drakes Beach area of California caused the worms to wash ashore. There is also an ecological concern that their natural habitat is being compromised by more and more people extracting sand from the ocean to add to home building products. These worms live underwater buried in the sand, so their homes are becoming endangered.
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SHOOK 😳 Thousands of these marine worms—called fat innkeeper worms, or “penis fish”—were found on Drake’s Beach last week! These phallic organisms are quite common along the West coast of North America, but they spend their whole lives in U-shaped burrows under the sand, so few beachgoers are aware of their existence. ⛈🌊 A recent storm in Northern California brought strong waves that washed away several feet of sand from the intertidal zone, leaving all these fat innkeeper worms exposed on the surface. 🏖 Next time you go to the beach, just think about the hundreds of 10-inch, pink sausages wiggling around just a few feet under the sand. 🙃 . . Get the full story in our new #AsktheNaturalist with @california_natural_history via link in bio! (📸: Beach photo courtesy David Ford; Worm photo by Kate Montana via iNaturalist)
Biologist Ivan Paar from the Western Section of the Wildlife Society spotted them on December 6th. Though he knew what they were, common beachgoers were baffled, pondering if perhaps they were seeing the aftermath of a sausage or bratwurst freight shipwreck. It does look like one big ol’ sausage fest I have to admit. In fact, it reminds me of just an ordinary day at Haulover Beach in Miami (If you’ve been, you’ll understand).
When it comes to culinary possibilities, the phrase “eat a d*ck” comes to mind as these big, fat 10-inchers, dating back to 300 million years, are cooked up and stir-fried as a delicacy in Shanghai, China. That’s a NO for me. I’ll leave that for those far more daring than I. When it comes to dining, I prefer to peruse a menu without feeling like a contestant on Fear Factor.