A Korean woman had an unfortunate experience that we’re sure is probably one of the weirdest, most unpleasant things we’ve read about in the realm of things: After eating a cooked squid, she felt a “severe pain” and a “pricking, foreign-body sensation in her mouth.” A visit to the doctor revealed “twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms” in the inside of her mouth, which were identified as squid spermatophores.
Science 2.0 leads us to the next logical thought about this case, which was published published in February in the Journal of Parasitology — yes, a “spermatophore” is basically semen, “an aggregation of gametes.”
Let’s learn a little bit more, shall we?
Each spermatophore includes an ejaculatory apparatus, which can expel the sperm mass quite forcefully, and a cement body for attachment. Of course, neither of those is a needle or a knife–the sort of thing you’d expect to need for actual implantation (into either a female squid or a human mouth). I’ve written a bit about this mystery before. As it turns out, no one is quite sure how spermatophores implant themselves into skin.
Mysterious or not, this isn’t the first time this has happened, apparently, but the fact that the squid was cooked makes this case stand out. According to Science 2.0, there’s no need to be put off squid forever. In the West, most of the time we eat squid it’s had the internal organs removed and we eat only the muscle, so no spermatophores.
If you are handling the little guys, they won’t hurt you or implant in the thicker skin of your hands and fingers. Just don’t put them in your mouth.
That Squid On Your Plate Could Inseminate Your Mouth [Science 2.0]