I’m really sorry to whoever is reading this because this is definitely gross. But it’s worth seeing because I didn’t think these little fish existed. Turns out thousands of fat Innkeeper worms, known as penis fish, washed up on a Northern California beach. An image of the worms was posted on Instagram by Bay Nature and quickly went viral because it looks insane.
According to Bay Nature magazine, thousands of the Marine worms, called fat innkeeper worms, were found on Drake’s Beach. They stated, “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.”
The magazine explained that the pulsating 10-inch worms may have been washed up by a strong storm that disrupted sediments in their intertidal zone. Innkeeper worms are also found in De Elkhorn Slough Nature Reserve located in Monterey Bay, California. The penis-shaped fish typically burrow under the sand, far beneath the feet of beachgoers, but the recent storm brought on some heavy waves that swept away the layers which left them exposed.
They are known to be eaten by seagulls who enjoy gobbling up these penis like fish, as do otters, sharks, rays, and other fish. But apparently, this penis fish is a human delicacy to some and is eaten on a regular basis in South Korea.
The worms also called Urechis Unicinctus, lives in a U-shaped tunnel or Barrow, and has a very unique method of eating. It secretes a slime net, which then traps all small food particles. The worm then circulates water through the tunnel, trapping the food in the Slime. When the mucus net becomes loaded with food, “The entire net, with its burden of food, is swallowed by the worm.
Apparently, these worms can reach up to 19 inches long but are usually just 6 to 9 inches. Thank God, really, because these creatures look more than creepy and disgusting if you ask me. Thanks, nature, I can’t go to the beach anymore. All I’m gonna think about are these pink sausages whenever I step on the muddy sand.
This post was originally published December 13, 2019.