Tongue Eating Louse (Cymothoa exigua)
A pair of ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) are hosts to the tongue eating louse. The parasite enters the fish through its gills where they extract blood from the tongue. It then replaces the atrophied tongue, attaching its own body to the stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue. This is the only known case of a parasite functionally replacing a host organ.
Image: © William Tan

Tongue Eating Louse (Cymothoa exigua)

A pair of ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) are hosts to the tongue eating louse. The parasite enters the fish through its gills where they extract blood from the tongue. It then replaces the atrophied tongue, attaching its own body to the stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue. This is the only known case of a parasite functionally replacing a host organ.

Image: © William Tan

  1. grovemarineanimals reblogged this from ichthyologist and added:
    Tongue Eating Louse (Cymothoa exigua) Animalia Arthropoda Crustacea Malacostraca Isopoda Cymothoidae Cymothoa C. exigua...
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  9. carbonlocked reblogged this from ichthyologist and added:
    The tongue-eating louse fascinates me. I am sure it hurts to have your tongue drained and atrophied, but the louse then...
  10. spooky-hawkeye reblogged this from ichthyologist and added:
    Why is nature so cool?
  11. forheeeeeeaaaalgulan reblogged this from ichthyologist and added:
    abklfgfghfhgh o god
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