‘Vampire’ parasite pretends to be fish’s tongue — but only after eating it first

‘Vampire’ parasite pretends to be fish’s tongue — but only after eating it first

Gruesome footage of a blood-thirsty parasite dwelling inside the mouth of a fish having devoured its host’s tongue have surfaced on-line.

Posted to social media by a scientist this week, the X-ray scans current an isopod, additionally referred to as tongue-eating louse, nestled inside the skull of a wrasse.

The 4cm-long “vampire” crustacean invades its host by the gills and attaches to the inside of the mouth using its sturdy claws.

It then drinks blood from the tongue, finally draining a variety of it that the organ dies, falls off, and is modified by the burgeoning parasite.

“I found a tongue-eating isopod in one of our wrasse scans this morning while digitizing it,” Rice University fish scientist Dr. Kory Evans talked about.

“These parasites attach themselves to the tongues of fishes and effectively become the new tongue…horrifying”, he wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The tongue-eating louse is native to the Gulf of California, as well as to components of the Atlantic.

It’s not thought to be dangerous to individuals, although the critter can chew if picked up alive.

Surprisingly, the parasite’s grisly feeding apply would not kill its host. Instead, the fish begins to use louse as a pseudo-tongue.

Once the precise tongue is drained of its blood, the louse stays there for the rest of its days, feeding off mucus and leftover blood throughout the mouth.

Twitter clients reacted in horror and wonderment to Dr. Evans’ scans.

“Oh, cool. A new nightmare for our Monday morning,” one shopper groaned.

“This is VERY cool,” one different wrote. “I don’t want to say it looks cute inside the mouth … but they look like they are doing a cute little photoshoot together.”

Dr. Evans replied: “I think this is the most tasteful tongue parasite photo on the internet.”

The tongue-eating louse is way from the only grotesque parasite our planet had to provide.

One parasitic flatworm current in Taiwan invades the eyes of snails, turning the appendages into flashing stalks that resemble disco balls.

The green-banded brood sac – additionally referred to as leucochloridium paradox – makes use of the tactic to entice shut by birds.

Once the birds eat the snail, the parasite spreads to totally different victims by the avian’s poo.

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