Cymothoa exigua, or the tongue-eating louse, is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cymothoidae. It tends to be 3 to 4 centimeters (1.2 to 1.6 in) long. This parasite enters through the gills, and then attaches itself at the base of the spotted rose snapper’s tongue. It extracts blood through the claws on its front, causing the tongue to atrophy from lack of blood. The parasite then replaces the fish’s tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue. It appears that the parasite does not cause any other damage to the host fish.
















Posted by Zac1987 on 13 November, 2010

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