Tongue-Eating Louse (Isopod Fish Parasite)

Leaferne

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This is just nasty:

Tongue-eating bug found in fish

_40757072_louse.jpg

A gross creature which gobbles up a fish's tongue and then replaces it with its own body has been found in Britain for the first time.

The bug - which has the scientific name cymothoa exigua - was discovered inside the mouth of a red snapper bought from a London fishmonger.

The 3.5cm creature had grabbed onto the fish's tongue and slowly ate away at it until only a stub was left.

It then latched onto the stub and became the fish's "replacement tongue".

Excited

Scientists are very excited by the find.

Dr Jim Brock of the Horniman Museum in south London told Metro newspaper: "I have not seen this species in all my 13 years at the museum so it's a remarkable find."

The bugs are usually found off the coast of California, so it's possible the fish was imported to the UK.

Freaked out

But don't be too freaked out - scientists say the creature does not pose any threat to humans and only attaches itself to fish tongues.
link with photo

:cross eye
 
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Yithian

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I feel nauseous.

There is a tongue-eating parasite, which gets in the mouth of a fish, where it severs the blood vessels in the fish's tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish's 'new tongue'.

 

Ogdred Weary

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I feel nauseous.

There is a tongue-eating parasite, which gets in the mouth of a fish, where it severs the blood vessels in the fish's tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish's 'new tongue'.

It has haunted my nightmares for many a year.
 

Frideswide

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I feel nauseous.

There is a tongue-eating parasite, which gets in the mouth of a fish, where it severs the blood vessels in the fish's tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish's 'new tongue'.

*checks tongue in mirror*
 

EnolaGaia

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This Live Science article provides some imagery and additional details about the tongue-eating louse.
Meet the 'vampire' parasite that masquerades as a living tongue

TongueBiter-A.jpg

When scientists recently X-rayed a fish's head, they found a gruesome stowaway: A "vampire" crustacean had devoured, then replaced, its host's tongue.

The buglike isopod, also called a tongue biter or tongue-eating louse, keeps sucking its blood meals from a fish's tongue until the entire structure withers away. Then the true horror begins, as the parasite assumes the organ's place in the still-living fish's mouth.

Biologist Kory Evans, an assistant professor in the Department of BioSciences at Rice University in Houston, Texas, discovered the tongue biter while digitizing X-rays of fish skeletons. ...

There are about 380 species of tongue-eating isopods, and most target a specific fish species as their host ... This type of isopod enters a fish's body through the gills, latches onto the tongue and begins to feed, releasing an anti-coagulant to keep the blood flowing. The parasite grips the base of the tongue tightly with its seven pairs of legs, reducing the blood supply so that the organ eventually atrophies and drops off ...

From that point on, the isopod's body serves as a functional tongue for the fish, while the tongue biter continues feeding on the fish's mucus ... This partnership between a fish and its living tongue can continue for years; in many cases, fish have been known to outlive their tongue-replacing parasites ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/image-fish-tongue-parasite.html
 
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