A newly found species of amphibian known as the "penis snake" was discovered by engineers working on a dam in Brazil last November. The rare animal was given its common name because of its round head and cylindrical body, which obviously resembles a certain part of the human male anatomy.
Before six individuals of the species were found, there were none known to be living and only two specimens were preserved, according to London's Natural History Museum website.
Despite its common name, the penis snake -- also colloquially known as the man-aconda and scientifically known as Atretochoana eiselti -- is not a snake at all. Instead, it is a limbless amphibian that is more closely related to frogs and salamanders than it is to boas and pythons.
Although there is still much to learned about it, biologist Julian Tupan told the Sun the animal probably breathes through its skin and feeds on small fish and worms.
What is known for certain is that it navigates mainly by smell and does not have lungs. Mongabay.com reported the creature is classified as a caecilian, a group in the order of gymnophiona amphibians. This is the largest known caecilian, measuring 30 inches (76 centimeters) long.
It was previously thought the penis snake lived in cold, oxygen-rich water that could be found at higher elevations, which is why some scientists were confused when it was found swimming in the warm waters of the Madeira River, a major tributary of the Amazon River.
"However, given that the species is likely rare, it's a bit distressing that the species was discovered during the drainage of its habitat," noted io9.com. "In discussing the conservation of the Amazon, won't somebody please think of the penis snakes?"
Environmentalists are concerned about the project the engineers were working on when they discovered the penis snakes. With 30 dams scheduled to be built in the Amazon region by 2020, there is a pervading fear that aquatic animals' feeding and migration patterns will be disrupted.
Meanwhile, the penis snake is hardly the first animal that has been compared to the male sex organ. YouThink.com provides a list of other animals that resemble penises. Coming in at No. 1 is the geoduck (click here for a picture), which is described as "Proof God has a sense of humor." Other entries include the bull terrier, naked mole rat, and sea cucumber.