from the specimen drawer

from the specimen drawer

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Invertebrate Anus Limericks

I thought the best way to bring in the new year was to share with you a few limericks I wrote about the anuses (ani?) of some of our invertebrate friends. But before I do, here is an up close and personal look at the anus of Spike, one of the sea urchins in my tank.
(Sorry, Spike!)

photo copyright 2009

The flower shape is comprised of four genital plates with gonopores (holes in the plates where the eggs or sperm, in Spike's case, are released) and a madreporite (opening to water vascular system). The center of the "flower" is the periproct and the anus is right in the middle of that. Enough anatomy! Here are the limericks!

Gastropod Anus Limerick
The gastropod’s nicely “turned out”
In its calcium carbonate house,
But it has the misfortune
(due to visceral torsion)
Of pooping right next to its mouth.

Anemone Anus Limerick
The anemone (and those of its phylum)
Has an “in” hole the same as its “out” one.
It MUST shit before
It can eat one piece more,
A real gastronomic conundrum!

Sea Cucumber Anus Limerick
The sea cucumber’s anus is neat
It can shoot sticky threads many feet!
A fish can live in its butt
(Go ahead- look it up!)
It even uses its asshole to breathe!

Hope you enjoyed those. And remember: Out with the old and in with the new! And to illustrate that new year's sentiment, here is a picture of Spike pooping.
photo copyright 2009

Looks like snow! Happy New Year!


  1. LMAO, those are awesome!

    In my last publication on anemones I tried to sneak the word "manus" in place of the oral opening. Manus of course "mouth" and "anus". My coauthors thought it was fun but wouldn't let me try lol.

  2. Perfect way to ring in the New Year. This is some of the finest potty humor ever. Well-done.

  3. Thanks Kevin! Manus- ha ha! Too bad you couldn't put it in there- I'm sure it would have been appreciated by many. Science publications could use some funnyness.

  4. Thanks Elizabeth! I really appreciate the compliment. I'm sure there will be more gross humor in the future.

  5. Any time you can bust out a rhyme and talk about's a winning combo! I think they are all great.

  6. When I came across this blog it made me so happy that someone like you exists ^_^
    Do you know this song? It's pretty awesome haha:
    If you're ever in Wales you should come chill with us and check out my axolotl's sperm packets!

  7. Thanks!!!!! I will pass on the link- very cool!