“Penis fish” are not actually fish. Thick sea “worms” gained the English name “penis fish” due to their characteristic appearance and the fact that they live in water. Interestingly, in some Asian countries, creatures from this invertebrate family are a real delicacy.
According to local media, after one of the winter storms in Northern California, thousands of pink, phallic-shaped creatures “pulsated” along Drakes Beach about 80 kilometers north of San Francisco.
The sea “worms” that people walking on the beach came across are a species from the Urechidae family, probably Urechis caupo. This species occurs off the western coast of North America, from Oregon to Northern California. It lives in U-shaped underwater burrows just off the coast. They feed on dead organic matter that they remove from the water.
– I walked on the beach for half an hour and these creatures were lying everywhere. You could see seagulls along the beach, some of them so full they could barely stand, David Ford told Vice.
An Asian delicacy
Interestingly, in Asia, another species from the Urechidae family, Urechis unicinctus, called “dog’s penis”, is a delicacy of local cuisine. In Korea, they are often eaten raw with salt and sesame oil or red chili paste. In Chinese cuisine, it is fried with vegetables or dried and powdered as a flavor enhancer.