Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write – The public wants more penis fish and a California aquarium is answering the call.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium decided to double down on the viral story of thousands of penis fish washing ashore in Point Reyes National Seashore by live streaming one in their exhibit hall. When you get a look at the fat innkeeper worm’s shape, you’ll quickly realize why they’re nicknamed the “penis fish”:
“You may have heard about a mass stranding of “penis fish” in Northern California on the news,” the Monterey Bay Aquarium wrote on their YouTube video. “Those are in fact fat innkeeper worms Urechis caupo, and they’re denizens of the muck all up and down the West Coast. Take a look at a fat innkeeper worm in our exhibit hall with Patrick and Emily on our social media team.”
The fat innkeeper worms Urechis caupo took the internet by storm when thousands washed ashore on Drakes Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore in December. The scene was interesting in itself and became a viral sensation when people noticed the odd shape and size of the worms.
This may just be the weirdest thing you've seen today!— Bay Nature magazine (@BayNature) December 11, 2019
Thousands of these marine worms, called fat innkeeper worms—or "penis fish"—washed up on Drake's Beach after a recent storm. 🌊 But why? https://t.co/MwY6xkN3kb pic.twitter.com/vGMpSvGoAT
The worms peculiar shape actually performs a purpose, as the worm uses it to create U-shaped burrows in the beach to catch food. But with the storm pushing them onto the beach, seagulls and otters flocked to the beach to enjoy a large meal. The worm is a popular food for the nearby otters, sharks and seagulls.
Gotta respect the aquarium for taking advantage of the viral sensation. Science is cool!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine