Hairy cobblestones that cause gastronomic ecstasy and increase libido (9 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 16
14 December 2023

There are enough gastronomic perversions in our world. Some aesthetes manage to derive pleasure from eating not only inedible, but also dangerous things. This one also looks strange at first glance. And even frightening.

Some kind of incomprehensible fur cobblestone with glimpses of scarlet flesh. But the ascidian Pyura chilensis is a representative of the tunicate subphylum, quite a living creature. And very unusual.

Piura is a person's kin. In the sense that he is also the happy owner of a simplified version of the spine - the chord. The inhabitant of the coast of Chile and Peru even has the rudiment of a brain. But only at the larval stage: as the pebble grows, this rudimentary organ disappears.

And why does Piura need it? If the creation fully justifies the name of the subtype. For a full life, it basically needs the shell itself - dense and strong, made of tunicin - cellulose of animal origin, and an inner sac through which water is constantly filtered.

It enters the mouth and is removed from the excretory. And so day after day, all 2-3 years that nature has allotted for the life of woolen stones. What about reproductive function? After all, with such global employment, the Piurs should have disappeared from the face of the earth long ago. These little animals approach the issue of procreation philosophically.

Pyura are bisexual creatures. That is, hermaphrodites. The larvae are born exclusively as males. As tadpoles mature, they acquire female reproductive organs. And they release clouds of germ cells into space, many of which reach neighboring colonies and interbreed there to ensure species diversity.

Young people are completely different from their ancestors. They have the notorious notochord, the rudiments of the brain and balance organs, which allow them to confidently stay in the water. But the voyage does not last long and usually takes several days. This time is enough to find a suitable place and settle down with others like you in the same colonial prosperity forever. The brain is transformed into a knot of nerve endings, and all other functions and skills disappear. Long live existence in the form of stone!

A unique feature of living pebbles, which are also called by other names - “sea eggplant”, “pineapple”, “glass lamp” and more, is the dizzyingly high level of vanadium in the inner shell. This chemical element is quite rare and is present in seafood, mushrooms and greens. Vanadium helps control glucose levels, lowers cholesterol and has antioxidant effects. But in the body of this organism its level is 10 million times higher than that of sea water. And vanadium accumulates precisely because of its constant filtration.

Locals eat Pyura chilensis meat, despite the toxicity of vanadium. Open the shell with a knife, lightly fry it and eat it with bread. Or even raw, sprinkled with lemon juice and seasoned with spices.

And some tourists specifically go to the coast to enjoy the stones to their fullest. But not because of the taste (it is bitter and soapy due to the high level of metal content). And because of its unconfirmed abilities, it has a magical effect on male potency.

However, this is the personal responsibility of gastronomic extremes who are not afraid to risk their livers in the name of good causes.

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