We’ve compiled a couple lists here at OutdoorHub, showing various fish diseases and parasites anglers should look out for, and one parasite in particular has stood out to us, and haunted our dreams ever since . . .
The tongue-eating louse, (or Cymothoa exigua) a parasitic isopod that can only be described as “alien-like” for the way it leeches off its host’s body fluids.
Given its name, it’s not hard to figure out what this parasite is after once it attaches itself to a fish, but wait until you hear how it goes about its business – Let’s just say it involves replacing a certain appendage in the fish’s mouth.
Watch the video below to learn more about these isopods:
Surprisingly, the host fish does not seem to be harmed by the process—minus the whole missing tongue thing—and Cymothoa exigua is the only known parasite that can functionally replace a host organ. The tongue-eating louse is actually quite widespread in the Pacific Ocean, and is known to infect game fish such as snappers and drums.
You may think this is all just a crock, but when you see one for real, your skin will absolutely crawl!
(Warning: You cannot un-see the content of this video; You’ve been warned. . .)