Feb 22, 2007

Two Mouths to Feed

Malia sent me this article, which spotlights the tongue-eating sea louse known as cymothoa exigua. What was that, you ask? Yes, I meant what I wrote about tongue-eating, but allow me to be more specific and horrific (sperrific?).

This crustacean parasite latches onto the tongue of the spotted rosesnapper and begins syphening off blood from the fish's tongue. As the parasite grows, the blood supply to the tongue dwindles, so it atrophies, blackens, and dies, leaving only a stump. But that's only half of it. The sea louse then replaces the erstwhile tongue by digging its claws into said stump. Get this - the fish can then manipulate the louse much like its former tongue, only now it has two mouths to feed.

Photos (1 & 2) courtesy: Lund Lab, University of Kentucky

28 comments:

Xris said...

Ewwww.

Does this qualify as an ectoparasite or an endoparasite?. Yech.

I'm going to go brush my tongue now.

Pansysmum said...

oh so very ewwwwwwwwww. I may never stick my tongue out again. I have no words. You have outdone yourself today, RW, just fabulouse!!

Jade said...

Amazingly creepy. Reminds me of the parasites that eat a certain shark's eyes in the artic seas. Oddly, those are beneficial to the shark, but still gross.

Raging Wombat said...

Ah, Jade you are referring to the Green Shark:

http://uglyoverload.blogspot.com/2006/01/blind-and-loving-it.html

bats said...

I am officially nauseated.

K said...

Wow.

I've heard of this before, but never seen such fantastically graphic pictures.

These things gotta be the essence of ugly ... Way to go!

Actually it's kind of a double-ugly, in a way -- the fish ain't too pretty to begin with, and then you add the parasite ...

cait said...

this is worse than brain eating earworms from "the wrath of khan". thanks for the nightmares.

Jade said...

raging wombat- Yup! That's it! :)

Bren said...

Oh God, that is so disgusting... If you could see my face you would probably laugh a little after recovering from the shock of this post.

SICK! Can you imagine if people actally ate this fish and opened it up to find THAT?! sick!

Swintah said...

Hrm, I don't know if losing your tongue is a good trade-off for the permanent flavor of shrimp. I'm presuming that most of a fishes sense of flavor comes through smell, like people.

I'd have to think about it. I really like shrimp.

Morgan said...

I've gone through just about every picture in the archives, and never, never until today did I actually think that anything on this site was gross. Neat, clever, intriguing... but that is freaking gross. Blech.

Tag(Carpet)Bagger said...

EEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!

vg_01 said...

eww that thing is like gross BUT I DONT CARE!! im gonna add stuff to it on photoshop :)

vg_01 said...

k i made edited the images on photo shop i aint all that great so dont be suprised if their bad to you

vg_01 said...

here is the link to where i posted them: http://mywebsiteandforum01.blogspot.com

Raging Wombat said...

vg_01, your link didn't work. I love to see how your photoshopping went!

vg_01 said...

copy and paste it if you did and it didnt work here it is again :)

http://0mywebsiteandforum01.blogspot.com/

it looks like a 2 year old scribbled over it lol so dont be suprised when you see it

Anonymous said...

Beyond disgusting. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

YYEEEEUUUCK!!! this is even grosser then those pearlfish I read about which live in seacucumbers anus's!! BARF CITY!!

apa tycka, apa skriva said...

So, does the fish in the first picture have two parasites attached, or is it a montage of two pictures?

(And to add to the plight of all who are grossed out: have you considered where the parasite defecates?)

Raging Wombat said...

Lovely, apa apa. Thanks for that. :)

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