The "doppel-wanger" also discharges its eggs and sperm into the sea.
Freediver Josie Jones was deep in the waters around Rye Front Beach in Victoria when she came upon an animal so weird she couldn’t help but take pictures. Lo and behold, it was the elusive “penis fish,” which looks exactly as it nickname suggests.
The 48-year-old diver was naturally amused by her discovery and because she wasn’t sure what it was, she shared the photos on the Facebook page of the Marine Research Group of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.
Biologists identified the phallic-looking creature as a priapulida, which is a type of unsegmented worm that resides at the bottom of the ocean. It was named after Priapos, the Greek god of male generative power. The creature also discharges its eggs and sperm into the sea, which makes it phallic resemblance even more fitting.
Of course, the pictures drew in not-so-scientific comments from other social media users, calling it a “doppel-wanger” among other things.
The priapulida isn’t the only species that has a phallic resemblance. In 2020, a California beach found a flotilla of penis spoon worms on its shore, which also caused a commotion on social media.
It’s important to mention why Josie was out there in the deep – she helps clean up the beach in order to give sea creatures a better life underwater.
“It’s so funny little creatures like the sea cucumber have a better life. I have cleaned this beach for 10 years and so I’ve seen the difference cleaning has made to the water. I dive to take photos and document the increase of seagrasses and sea beds.I clean the beaches to improve water quality.”
In reference to the strange creature she took pictures of, she said:
“It was a sea cucumber or penis worm, only the nerds get crazy on what subspecies it is. We have over 160 species living under our pier.”
Aside from that, Josie also runs a campaign that aims to stop people from littering on the seaside. She herself spent lots of time pulling out stuff from the water that shouldn’t be there.
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