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Squid ‘spermatophores’ get stuck in diner’s mouth

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A giant squid feeds on smaller squid bait used by fisherman (Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum of …

A 63-year-old Korean woman who was dining on boiled squid was horrified to discover that sperm from the squid had painfully stuck to her tongue and cheeks.

The Squid A Day site reports that the woman experienced severe pain in her mouth after biting into the squid. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains what happened in further detail:

"She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a 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," the article abstract states.

"On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores."

Squid A Day notes that the squid's internal organs are normally removed when the squid is prepared for a dish, so this is not something the average consumer should have to worry about. When diners orders squid in a restaurant, they are typically served only edible parts, such as the cleaned tentacles and body sac.

And while the incident with this woman is creepy, painful and weird, it's not entirely without precedent. A report from NCBI in 2011 gave a similar case of squid spermatophores stinging a person's mouth, but that occurred after the person was eating raw squid. Again, it would seem as if the squid had not been properly prepared for consumption.

Interestingly, the site also says that squid spermatophores are perfectly safe to handle, as they are not powerful enough to stick to the outside of the human body.

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