Tongue-Eating Fish Parasites Never Cease to Amaze..?
After you check out this video of a cymothoa exigua, a.k.a., tongue eating louse, you will be double-checking the mouth of every catch you make from here on out. This has got to be one of the most revolting creatures to ever swim in the sea. And it’s not only a nasty nautical crustacean; it’s rather unique, too. This thing really gives new meaning to the old saying, “You are what you eat.”
This gender-confused sea animal is what biologists call a protandric hermaphrodite. That means it can switch from male to female once it matures. Not only that, but it “leeches” off of others its whole life.
This loser of a louse finds an innocent fish swimming along minding its own business, swims into its gills, and takes up residence in its mouth by latching its claws into the fish’s tongue. Then, once its got a really great grip going on, it actually sucks all the blood out of the tongue. The tongue dies and falls off, and the lucky louse makes the mouth its new home and actually becomes a new tongue.