Beachcombers puzzled over phallic shaped creatures washing ashore

The 10 inch worm lives underwater beneath the sand

People walking along the beach were puzzled as they saw thousands of sausages wriggling on the shores on Thursday. Bay Nature magazine reported on the appearance of the phallic-shaped creatures shores calling them the 'fat innkeeper', or what they are colloquially called the penis-fish. The marine worm appeared on the beach as a result of the storms in the Drakes beach.

A resident told the Vice that they had no idea what it was and that it went on for miles. The seagulls were lining the beach having eaten the worm. Ivan Parr explained that the sea worms whose biological name is Urechis caupo, is a variety of the spoon worm seen in the Pacific.

The U-shaped worms of the Pacific

Parr also explained that the 10-inch worm lives underwater beneath the sand. The U-shaped worms bury themselves beneath the sand, far beneath the top layer of sand. the storm had lifted this layer and left these penile creatures exposed. These spoon worms live up to 25 years and moves and eat using its "spatula-shaped proboscis."

Over the years there have been reported sightings of this creature in California at Pajaro Dunes, Moss Landing, Bodega Bay, and Princeton Harbor. There is fossil evidence of this creature from 300 million years ago.

A delicacy of South East Asia

The worms eat planktons and bacteria using a sticky mucus net. According to certain countries, these creatures are turned into delectable meals as well. There are a few southeastern countries in Asia that eat these creatures. Koreans call them 'gaebul', and the Chinese have their version of a stir-fry just for this juicy dish.

There are a variety of spoon worms in the region of the Pacific.

View this post on Instagram

The Korean name for this curious creature is gaebul, which translates as “dog dick.” Here in the States, it’s known as the fat innkeeper worm or the penis fish. Its scientific binomial is Urechis caupo, or “viper tail tradesman.” Whatever you call the animal, you can find them in abundance at Bodega Bay, where they build burrows in the tidal mud flats. On Saturday afternoon, our small, but enthusiastic clamming/crabbing crew thrust shovels and shoulder-deep arms into that mud in pursuit of Pacific gaper clams (Tresus nuttallii), but we also pulled up at least twenty of these red rockets. We returned them to their subterranean homes – excepting those that were snatched by eager herring gulls. I learned later that the gulls were the smarter hunters; fat innkeepers are edible, and are even considered a delicacy in Korea. Still, even though we missed out on a prime opportunity to dine on dog dick, we had a successful, fun outing, encountering a number of curious species, some of which now reside my belly. ⊙ What you’re looking at here: • Fat innkeeper worm (Urechis caupo) • A ring of prominent setae on the butt end of the fat innkeeper worm (Urechis caupo) • Bay ghost shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis) • Lewis’s moon snail (Euspira lewisii) • Bucket filled w/ Pacific gaper clams or “horsenecks” (Tresus nuttallii), white macoma or “sand clams” (Macoma secta), and Lewis’s moon snails • Red rock crabs (Cancer productus) back in the kitchen, icing after boiling ๑ ๑ ๑ ๑ ๑ #BodegaBay #gaebul #FatInnkeeperWorm #UrechisCaupo #BayGhostShrimp #NeotrypaeaCaliforniensis #LewissMoonSnail #EuspiraLewisii #PacificGgaperClam #TresusNuttallii #RedRockCrab #CancerProductus #crabbing #clamming #huntergatherer #SonomaCounty #California #naturalhistory

A post shared by Christopher Reiger (@christopherreiger) on Feb 18, 2019 at 9:20am PST