If you thought the 3-eyed fish in the opening sequence of The Simpsons was the strangest marine creature you ever did see, well think again. Sometimes reality really is stranger than fiction…So in the bizarre corner, joining the Banana slug with the penis on its head that is sometimes chewed off after intercourse and the Nephilengys malabarensis spider which snaps its piece off inside the lady-spider to be a better lover, we bring you the Phallostethus cuulong!
Mother Nature has been delving into the creative-crazies again and has given the world this strange little fishy which has its genitals and an anus in its throat. As if that weren’t wacky enough it also has this strange little appendage next to its genitals that looks a little like a serrated saw. Scientists think it is to hold the female in place during the act, but who knows, it might just be so they can save time and do a little D.I.Y all whilst inseminating the MRS!
The Phallostethus cuulong was discovered in 2009 by Koichi Shibukawa of the Nagao Natural Environment Foundation in Tokyo, Japan. He captured one in Vietnam’s Mekong River and realized it was a new species, belonging to the priapiumfish family, that all have their reproductive organs on their chinny, chin, chins!
The 2-centimetre fish doesn’t have a penis, they’ve got a different organ called a priapium, which faces backwards and looks like a muscular nozzle. Attached to the priapium are the aforementioned serrated saw type thing and a forward facing rod called the toxactinium. The anus is just above the genital opening on the priapium.
According to New Scientist: “No one has seen P. cuulong mating, but based on observations of other species it’s likely that the saw and rod are used for grasping the female during mating. One goes on either side of her head, holding her still while the male transfers his sperm.” So if no one has seen them at it, then my D.I.Y theory could still be workable, right?
The priapium fish family are named after the ancient Greek fertility god Priapus, I wanted to ask him how he felt about the fact that his name had been given to this bizarre family of wacky water-dwellers but he was unavailable for comment, personally I reckon he might be a little pissy about it!