Tongue-eating bug

Here’s a picture from a story making the rounds because it turned up in a London fishmarket. It’s Cymothoa exigua, a fish parasite.

The 3.5cm creature had grabbed onto the fish’s tongue and slowly ate away at it until only a stub was left.

It then latched onto the stub and became the fish’s “replacement tongue”.

The bugs are usually found off the coast of California, so it’s possible the fish was imported to the UK.

Here are two pictures from the London story:

Cymothoa exigua
Cymothoa exigua #2

Here’s a pic from a web site about parasites:

Cymothoa exigua #3

Two pics from the Australian Museum:

Cymothoa exigua #4
Cymothoa exigua #5

Be glad you have hands to pull it off you if it bites your tongue. The poor fish is stuck–his fins can’t reach in and grab it!

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