Sunday, September 20, 2009

MFS - Strange But True - Creatures / Animals 8


The Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cymothoidae(Isopods). It tends to be 3 to 4 cm long. This parasite enters through the gills, and then attaches itself at the base of the spotted rose snapper's tongue. It then proceeds to extract blood through the claws on its front three pairs of legs. As the parasite grows, less and less blood reaches the tongue, and eventually the organ atrophies from lack of blood. The parasite then replaces the fish's tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub.Image by Dr.Nico Smit.Read more about it on MFS.


  1. My first reaction to see the picture was, "oh my god, there really is a creature that looks like the alien in the movie Aliens!?!"

    Secondly, I feel really sorry for the fish that the Cymothoa parasite attaches itself to. It must be uncomfortable and painful even.

  2. Me too. It looks very similar with the alien character in the movie.


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