Thousands of ‘Penis Fish’ Wash Ashore on Point Reyes Beach

A fat innkeeper worm in Bodega Bay in June 2019. Photo: Kate Montana/iNaturalist Creative Commons

Drakes Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore became overrun with thousands of worms named Urechis caupo, and when you get a good look at them, you’ll realize why they’re nicknamed “penis fish.”

The thick, 10-inch worms, most commonly seen in the oceans off Northern California, were washed ashore during last weeks storm and created a delicate scene on the popular beach. The worm is a popular food for the nearby otters, sharks and seagulls. And they’re shape make them, well, interesting to the human public.

The worms peculiar shape actually performs a purpose, as the worm uses it to create U-shaped burrows in the beach to catch food. But with the storm pushing them onto the beach, seagulls and otters flocked to the beach to enjoy a large meal.

Take a look at what the Fat Inkeeper Worm looks like up close:

Read more about the lives of penis fish in the wild by reading Bay Nature’s full story.

Active NorCal

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