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The foulest thing I’ve seen this week

Click to enjoy in more detail

Click to enjoy in more detail

Via my friend Adam comes this photo of a parasite known as Cymothoa exigua, which lives by invading the mouths of fish and attaching itself to their tongues. According to Wikipedia:

“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. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue.”

Choice.

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And here's a side view for added viewing pleasure

And here's a side view for added viewing pleasure

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. YUCK (but fascinating).

    September 16, 2009
  2. Mardi #

    It’s like something out of Giger – Alien 5: Underwater.

    September 16, 2009
  3. Didn’t they already make that? Or am I thinking of Giant Shark vs Giant Octopus?

    September 16, 2009
  4. Sylmobile #

    I have a deep suspicion there is a human version of this parasite that has gained lodgings within the mouths of some parliamentarians….

    Fascinating stuff, thanks. Though, I shall blame you for every nightmare I have over the next few weeks.😉

    September 16, 2009
  5. Adam G #

    What, only this *week*?! I will have to try harder next time.

    Ag

    September 16, 2009
  6. Adam G #

    What, only this *week*?! I will have to try harder next time.

    Very apropos, I thought, for the City of Tongues.

    Ag

    September 16, 2009
  7. Janiece #

    Hi, this is not a comment on that unsightly and insidous parasite, and nor is it for publication, but i wondered if you had seen this:

    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/96631-story-collection-soars-after-fry-tweet.html

    Cheers

    September 16, 2009
  8. I don’t even think it’s all that foul or yuck, actually — at least it’s a symbiotic relationship (of sorts) and doesn’t kill the fish, although I must say it does remind me of some of the human relationships I’ve known.

    You want foul, what about those parasitoid wasps that lay their eggs inside the flesh of living caterpillars so that after the cute little wasp larvae hatch they can eat their way out, killing the host in the process?

    Nature, what are you gonna do.

    September 16, 2009
  9. You call that yuck? THIS is yuck.

    September 17, 2009

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