“ROCKY” Sex Life

A crude, but nevertheless common expletive hurled at the object of one’s anger suggests that the affronter go [have sex with] himself. Fortunately (or, depending on one’s blood rockpoint of view, unfortunately,) having sex with one’s self is anatomically challenging—unless you’re a rock.


Pyura chilensis, otherwise known as the Blood Rock, lives in the waters along the coasts of Chile and Peru, and reproduce by tossing a cloud of sperm and eggs into the water and hoping they knock together. (Thus, the egg would be “knocked up”—sorry.)


The adult blood rock has to have sex with itself for several reasons. First, it’s not the most attractive ocean species in that it looks like, well, a rock. Second, Pyura isn’t into cruisin’ the hot spots on the ocean floor. It doesn’t move. Again, it’s a rock. And finally its eating habits leave much to be desired. The Blood Rock remains stationary and simply sucks in ocean water, keeps what nutrients it needs, then expels the rest. And any self-respecting sea creature would not want to get too close to Pyura when it, uh, expels, as the Rock releases Vanadium, a noxious toxin used as a catalyst in the production of sulfuric acid. Phewww.


Still, we should refrain from pitying pyura as all the world’s creatures deserve the dignity of being left alone to live their pitiful little lives as best they can. Except  there’s a final indignity for Pyura— discriminating Chileans like to eat them.


The Blood Rock’s life can offer a lesson for all of us. Whenever we feel blue from the dips in our everyday lives, we can take solace knowing that we have a long way to fall before reaching the dismal life of the Blood Rock. And we likely won’t have to face the prospect of becoming a delectable addition to a Chilean seafood salad.


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