Yep – it’s one of those moments where you have to sit down and take a long look at what you just read.
And re-read. But even when you do, it will still read:
Penetration of the Oral Mucosa by Parasite-Like Sperm Bags of Squid: A Case Report in a Korean Woman
That’s because it’s the title of this paper, which descibes how:
a 63-yr-old Korean woman experienced severe pain in her oral cavity immediately after eating a portion of parboiled squid along with its internal organs. She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity.
And what caused that pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity?
Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa. On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.
I’ve probably had hundreds of spermatophores ejaculate on my fingers and never felt a sting.
As Danna says, that’s probably because the skin on the human hand is too thick for those pesky squid spermatophores – essentially bags of squid sperm – to penetrate. Not so your flimsy oral mucosa.
That’s why Danna doesn’t eat half-cooked squids. Probably.
So should we calamari fans freak out right about now (that’s if you haven’t already freaked out having digested (sorry) the contents (sorry again) of this post thus far)?
No – we “Western” squid nibblers are just fine:
First, most Western squid preparations remove the internal organs and serve only the muscle, so there’s no danger of accidentally ingesting spermatophores.
Oh, and just in case you were thinking about getting bags of squid semen and popping them into your oral cavity:
Second, it’s perfectly fine to handle spermatophores – just don’t put them in your mouth.
Consider yourselves educated. And slightly less hungry than you were five minutes ago.