This Photo of a Parasite Attached to a Fish’s Tongue Isn’t From the Movie Aliens


Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom. That’s probably what this parasite says when it attaches itself onto a fish’s tongue. This incredible but simplistic photo above shows the creature known as the Tongue Eating Parasite that latches itself onto a fish’s tongue. According to this awesome and very well done short video by Anna Rothschild of Nova, the parasites tend to enter fishes many a time–we’re talking about two or three at a time. They can also change their genders. Usually the female will latch onto the back of the tongue of the fish, suck its blood and drain the tongue until it is no more. The fish then uses the parasite as its own tongue. The males will live in the fish’s gills and try to mate with the female while she is attached. The female continues to live her life sucking blood or feeding on the mucus within the fish.

This is one nasty critter, but it is one great image that simply demonstrates everything that the parasite does in just a couple of pixels.

Via I Fucking Love Science. Photo from Treehugger and shot by Dr. Nico Smit.