The internet is freaking out over a bunch of “penis fish.” Yep, you read that right. But these marine animals aren’t actually fish at all. They’re worms.
The Urechis Caupo bury deep in the sand along the California coast, one of the only places it can be found in the continental U.S., according to a column from BayNature.org. Recent storms have disturbed their burrows, leaving thousands of these worms, often called “penis fish,” on Drake’s Beach in Point Reyes, California.
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
I’ve spent ten minutes watching penis fish videos on Twitter. It’s been that kind of a day.— Mel Gough 🌈 (@melgough_writer) December 13, 2019
Online, they’ve received quite a bit of attention due to their uncommon appearance and nickname. The BBC reports that another variety of the worm is commonly consumed as a delicacy in East Asian markets. But to many, their phallic appearance opens a whole can of joke-worthy worms.
PENIS WORMS. NOT PENIS FISH. God, nothing is right tonight. https://t.co/sSEipRBElR— Jan Freedman (@JanFreedman) December 12, 2019
One Twitter user said these worms made her feel “intrigued but uncomfortable.” Another said they haven’t seen “this many penises on a beach since the Cronulla riots.”
Intrigued but uncomfortable— juniper 🦕🏄🏻♀️ (@junipher_) December 13, 2019
Others lamented having to see the 10-inch worm at all.
“Could’ve gone the whole day without seeing the penis fish but no,” one user wrote.
could’ve gone the whole day without seeing the penis fish but nooooooo— ♪ (@xoSHANON) December 13, 2019
Amid all of the jokes and banter, one Twitter user thought the penis fish proved a valid point about sending inappropriate images online. Wrote @ROLLANinthedeep: “All the news and pics of the ‘penis fish’ in California only proves that dick pics are not cute y’all.”