Thousands Of ‘Penis Fish’ Washed Up On A Beach In California
Published in Dec 2019 / Updated in Aug 2021
Nature sometimes has quite a sense of humor, and this recent incident proves it. Thousands of bizarre little creatures called ‘penis fish’ have washed ashore at Drakes Beach, California.
These sausage-like marine creatures are also known as Fat Innkeeper Worms (Urechis caupo) and are believed to have appeared on the beach due to a recent storm.
If you’re still wondering why these creatures are dubbed ‘penis fish’ well, just have a look at them and decide for yourself whether it’s an apt title.
Spotted by Ivan Parr on December 6, the biologist from the Western Section of The Wildlife Society explains that the 10-inch fat innkeeper worm typically lives underwater, burrowing in mud or sand. But the storm likely dragged them from the depths.
Parr wrote on Bay Nature:
“The same phenomenon has been reported over the years at Pajaro Dunes, Moss Landing, Bodega Bay, and Princeton Harbor.”
“I’ve heard my share of imaginative theories from beachcombers, such as the flotsam of a wrecked bratwurst freighter.”
“In truth, these are living denizens of our beaches rudely, yet also mercifully, mostly called ‘fat innkeeper worms.”
It’s called an innkeeper worm because they live in small underground u-shaped burrows, which become habitats for other sea creatures once the worm leaves.
Seriously, there’s a load of them, and as you can see, they’re really f***ing gross.
These phallic-looking fish is actually a food delicacy in Korea and Japan.
To make the idea of eating one even grosser, they’re often eaten raw with just salt and sesame oil. Or served with a red chili paste known as gochujang.
And just like many things, when it comes to penis-fish, it’s a case of the bigger, the better because uneven thickness indicates lower quality.
While the rest of the world double-takes pictures of these ‘mysterious’ creatures, it appears the ‘penis worms’ are frequent visitors at Drakes Beach.
One California local said on Facebook:
“Oh no, the weenie worms are getting stranded again! We don’t call them ‘weenie’ worms anymore, though. The animal is scientifically known as Urechis caupo, now has the more dignified common name of Fat Innkeeper Worm. Which doesn’t change what it closely resembles, alas.”
While another social media user wrote:
“Naturally, 2019 Closes With Thousands Of 10-Inch Pulsing ‘Penis Fish’ Stranded On A California Beach.”
And to add even more sense of humor to their hilarious name, ‘penis-fish,’ when the tide is in, these creatures slide up to the chimney of their burrow, producing a sticky mucous net from a ring of glands.