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Tongue-eating louse

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posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 03:00 PM
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I always love coming across stories like this one. This is amazing and very weird!



Tongue-eating louse found on supermarket snapper

A diner preparing a Red snapper for lunch found something rather nasty inside the mouth of the fish.

...

Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman, Dr Jim Brock, identified the freaky creature as a type of parasitic crustacean called Cymothoa exigua.

This "tongue-eating louse" is actually a type of isopod and Brock says it's believed to be the only creature known to eat and replace the organ of its host.

...

"The tongue louse enters through the fish's gills, using claws to attach itself to the base of the snapper's tongue and survives by drinking from an artery which supplies its blood.

"Eventually the tongue is reduced to a stub. However, the parasite is now large enough to replace the tongue and as it manipulates the fish's food, it also dines out for free on the freed food particles when the fish eats.

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