Well, isn't this just the stuff of nightmares…
Reddit user Dirty Protest posted this TikTok recently in a subreddit appropriately named r/nope. I couldn't make out the name of the TikTok creator, so I can't link to the original, so this one will have to do. If you go look at the video, you will not be surprised that the comments on the reddit post were full of people saying, basically, "WTF," which was also my initial reaction. WTF was I looking at?!
Turns out these creatures are called eel gobies and they are found in one particular area of Japan. According to Oddity Central:
The mud flats of Japan's Ariake Sea are home to a creature that is reportedly as delicious as it is disgusting-looking. Introducing the "Warasubo", an eel-like fish that for obvious reasons is known as the "Alien of Ariake Sea".
They are apparently also considered a delicacy, as Oddity Central goes on to explain:
Nearly blind, with translucent skin and featuring small but pointy teeth, the warasubo can be consumed either grilled or dried, whole or in powdered form, as the main ingredient of a hearty soup, or as extra flavoring in a cup of hot sake. It's apparently a very flavorsome treat that gets tastier the more you chew on it.
I also discovered that the, ahem, interesting looking creature has been used in tourism marketing campaigns, according to Oddity Central:
While the warasubo may not look like the most delicious thing in the world, regional governments around the Ariake Sea have actually employed the Alien-like creature to boost tourism in the area, even creating a short promotional film that depicts the scary-looking eel as a mysterious creature.
So I went looking and I found this gem from Saga City. The video is so cleverly produced, and the entire thing is made to look like a trailer for a horror film starring the eel gobies as the "Aliens of Ariake." Wild stuff. I'd totally go see that movie! And now I'm curious about how they taste. I mean, I ate a barnacle, I'd eat this too. If it didn't eat me first!