When I first saw this, I thought it was fake:
There’s apparently a parasite that eats (and eventually replaces) fish tongues! This parasite, called Cymothoa exigua, snacks on the fish’s tongue until it eats it down to just a stub. But by then, the thing is big enough to replace the fish’s tongue, which it does. The fish is pretty much unaffected by the presence of the parasite, since the “tongue louse” functions like a tongue, but that parasite also gets the pickings of food particles that the fish lunches on.
This parasite was thought to exist solely on the Gulf of California, but a red snapper at a fish market in London was recently found with one: http://animal.discovery.com/news/briefs/20050912/tongueeater.html
( More Photos Here:Collapse )
This post, although in Japanese, it worth checking out if you want more gnarly pictures.
Up next? Maybe I'll write about the fish parasite that eats, replaces, and hangs from the fish's eyeball! Anyone posted on that yet?