The penis fish otherwise known as the fat inkeeper worms thrive in muddy and sandy parts of the seafloor, far beneath the feet of beachgoers.
Much to everyone's shock or surprise (depending on how you look at it), scores of phallic-shaped fish were spotted ashore Drakes Beach, California. This comes shortly after the raging winter storms in northern California, which exposed the pink, throbbing, penis-like creature along the beach that is about 50 miles north of San Francisco, reports Bay Nature. Biologist Ivan Parr was one of the first who spotted the sea of pink-sausage-looking creatures sprawled across the sandy beach on December 6, reports Daily Mail.
"The same phenomenon has been reported over the years at Pajaro Dunes, Moss Landing, Bodega Bay, and Princeton Harbor," he wrote for the Nature magazine. "I've heard my share of imaginative theories from beachcombers, such as flotsam of a wrecked bratwurst freighter. In truth, these are living denizens of our beaches rudely, yet also mercifully, mostly called 'fat innkeeper worms.'" According to a report by The Guardian, these 10-inch marine worms are called fat innkeeper worms, however, they are colloquially referred to as 'penis fish'.
Typically, the penile figures burrow far into the sand and mainly thrive in muddy and sandy parts of the seafloor, far beneath the feet of beachgoers. There, they live up to 25 years and feed on plankton, bacteria, and other small particles, using their 'slime nets,' which is also consumed once there's enough food caught. Their spatula-shape limb is used for both feeding and swimming. Using their flexible and soft built, they create U-shaped burrows that are then used by other creatures after they move onto another, hence their name 'innkeeper.'
However, the strong winds brought over by the storms gave rise to huge waves that ended up sweeping away the layers of the sandy shield. This left the creatures exposed to various threats like seagulls, otters, sharks who love gobbling them up, due to their size and soft texture of their bodies. Although their sightings are rare in the US, it is more commonly found in Japan, China, and South Korea. Penis fish are supposedly threatened by humans, too, who love eating them. While, for some, the thought of eating one of these is enough to make them nauseous, it apparently is a delicacy, especially in South Korea, where they call it gaebul.