Urechis unicinctus

Urechis unicinctus (traditional Chinese: 海腸; simplified Chinese: 海肠; pinyin: hǎicháng; Cantonese Yale: hóichèuhng; Japanese: 螠虫; rōmaji: yumushi; Korean: 개불; romaja: gaebul) is a species of the marine spoon worm. It is widely referred to as the fat innkeeper worm or the penis fish.[2] The body is about 10–30 cm long, and the body is yellowish brown in color near the cylindrical shape of sausage. On the surface of the body there are many small papillae. There is a flat snout that can be clipped to the front of the mouth and can be seen as a head of another animal with a brain in the snout.

U-shaped burrows are formed when breeding. Males and females produce eggs and sperm, respectively.

In Korea, they are eaten for food.[3] It is used as bait for fish such as flounder and sea bream. They are distributed in Korea, Japan, and the Pacific coast.

Urechis unicinctus
Echiura in Korea1
Urechis unicinctus at a market in Korea.
Scientific classification
U. unicinctus
Binomial name
Urechis unicinctus
von Drasche, 1881[1]


U. unicinctus, like other species of Urechis, lives and burrows in sand and mud. It gets the name "fat innkeeper worm" because the tunnels often contain other animals.

Economic use

This spoon worm is commonly eaten raw with salt and sesame oil or gochujang in Korea.

In Chinese cuisine the worm is stir-fried with vegetables, or dried and powdered to be used as an umami enhancer.

It is also used for fishing bait.


Gaebul sold at a fish market at Busan, South Korea.

Korean sea worm

Urechis unicinctus served as hoe in a restaurant in South Korea.


  1. ^ van der Land, Jacob; Murina, Galina Vansetti (2012). "Urechis unicinctus (von Drasche, 1881)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  2. ^ เหมียวตะปู (2018-02-04). "'ปลาจู๋' สิ่งมีชีวิตใต้น้ำที่ดันเกิดมามีรูปร่างคล้ายบางอย่าง แถมยังมีน้ำพุ่งออกมาอีกด้วย". catdumb (in Thai). Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  3. ^ "개불" (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-03-17.

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