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Thousands of pink, throbbing ‘penis fish’ have washed up on a beach and the jokes write themselves

Vic Parsons December 13, 2019
Penis fish

Hands full of penis fish in California. (Twitter)

They left their hearts in San Francisco, and now thousands of throbbing “penis fish” have washed up on a nearby beach in California.

Thousands of the 10-inch-long “penis fish” washed up after a recent storm, and reportedly the sight of them stretches for miles.

While their scientific name is Urechis caupo and they are also known as fat innkeeper worms, the wriggling pink invertebrates are most commonly referred to as “penis fish” – for obvious reasons.

According to a nature magazine local to San Francisco, Bay Nature, penis fish usually live in U-shaped burrows under the sand, but recent storms caused strong waves that swept the sand away, leaving the phallic organisms exposed.

In the UK, the “penis fish” news broke the day after the general election, which saw the Tories remain in power.

Political commentators couldn’t help but make comparisons between the new Conservative majority in parliament and the major event taking place on California’s beaches, with some going so far as to compare the influx of penis fish with Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson.

Others on social-media pointed out that the penis fish would provide a welcome meal for otters, who enjoy gobbling them up – as do flounders, sharks, rays, gulls, and humans.

Otters, of course, are also in the news at the moment having incorrectly predicted that the general election would result in a hung parliament.

David Ford, who lives in California and likes to take walks on the beach where the fat inkeeper worms were found, told Vice that they are “bizarre” creatures.

“I had no idea what they might be…it went on for two miles,” Ford said. “I walked for another half hour and they were scattered everywhere. There were seagulls lined up the beach the whole way having eaten so much they could barely stand. A quarter of them looked like they were still alive. The rest were dead, they had a dead sea-creature smell.”

Ford said that the penis fish weren’t the only odd sight on the beach that day. “There were a couple of elephant seals, which are rather phallic themselves,” he said.

“There was a carcass of a sea turtle, which don’t live around here, and the carcass of an angel shark. The ocean is full of mysteries.”

More: Boris Johnson, California, San Francisco

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