Off the coast of Chile and Peru are sea creatures that look exactly like rocks.
In fact, the only thing that will make you think otherwise is that when you step on them, their innards will spill out under your feet.
The most mind-blowing thing about these creatures isn’t even that they look like real rocks, but the fact that they are edible.
The locals say it’s a delicacy, and they even eat it raw. They have a soapy and bitter taste, with a weird iodine flavor, they say.
Scientifically known by the name Pyura chilensis, the sea creatures belongs to a class of filter feeders known as Ascidiacea (commonly referred to as sea squirts). They are immobile invertebrates that feed by inhaling water, removing edible micro-algae by the help of a moving layer of mucus in their pharynx, and then exhaling filtered water back into the sea, hence the name filter-feeders. They have two siphons on their exterior to help with that.
Each of these sea creatures has an element called vanadium, which is also found in crude oil. It has been proven that the vanadium levels inside it are ten million times more than the levels in marine water.
Maybe that is the secret ingredient behind its unique taste. How it accumulates such a massive amount is still a mystery.
Would You Eat This?
Kinda Looks Like Cherry Tomatoes, Don’t You Think?
Due to their immobility, they cannot mate. And nature has an interesting way of going about that. The rock-like creatures are born male. When they reach puberty stage, they become hermaphroditic.
At this stage, they reproduce by tossing male and female eggs in the water with the hope that they will collide and fuse to produce another of their own. The resulting offspring is tadpole-like, and it settles in the water and matures.