back to top

We’ve updated our privacy notice and cookie policy. Learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, and find out how we collect your personal data and what we use it for.

This Worm Looks Like A Penis

And it has teeth.

Posted on

This is a Priapulid. Its informal but demonstrably more descriptive name is the penis worm.

Bruno C. Vellutini / Via

It's pretty fierce. It can actually turn its mouth and throat inside-out, exposing a jagged array of gnarly teeth, which it uses to drag itself across the sea-floor or devour its prey.

The throat has been described as resembling a cheese grater.


The real time to worry about penis worms would have been 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian.

Alex Kasprak for BuzzFeed

According to paleontologist Martin Smith, back then "they were fearsome beasts, and extremely successful ones at that."

In fact, they provide us with the earliest evidence of cannibalism. Some penis worm fossils show bits of other penis worm fossils inside of them. These flesh-eating beasts would eat anything and everything around them.

Science Writer, Fossil Beastmaster

Contact Alex Kasprak at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.