Isopod Facts, Tongue-Eating Louse
A-Z Collection of Cool Animals Challenge
I is for Isopod Facts
Today I bring you the following isopod facts for your, uh, enjoyment. Eww? What a bizarre creature!
The tongue-eating louse, or Isopod, is a strange white parasitic crustacean of the Cymothoidae family, best known for eating a host fish’s tongue, and then replacing it with itself, acting like a new tongue.
- The tongue-eating louse enters the fish through the gills.
- After attaching itself to the fish’s tongue, the parasite feeds on the tongue’s blood, extracting it with its front claws. This causes the fish’s tongue to atrophy from lack of blood.
- The isopod then attaches itself to the stub of what remains of the tongue, and then becomes the fish’s new tongue.
- If that isn’t strange enough, the fish will then go on doing what it’s always done — living an apparently normal life, using the louse just like a normal tongue, and grinding food against its teeth on the roof of the mouth.
- Once the tongue is replaced, the louse will feed on the host’s blood or mucus. Other than replacing the fish’s tongue, it doesn’t appear that any other damage is caused to the host.
- The tongue-eating louse is currently the only known parasite to replace a host’s organ in its entirety with itself.
- The tongue-eating louse is commonly found from the Gulf of California south to north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador. It has been recorded in waters ranging from 6 ft 7 in (2 meters) to almost 200 ft (60 m) deep.
- Female Isopods range from 0.3–1.1 inches (8-29 mm) long and 0.16–0.55 inches (4–14 mm) wide.
- The males measure 0.3–0.6 inches (7.5–15 mm) long and 0.12–0.28 inches (3–7 mm) wide.
It is believed that this strange little creature is not harmful or poisonous to humans, although the louse can bite if picked up alive.
Sources for Isopod Facts: Wiki
Video: Animal Wire
I hope you have enjoyed, “ I is for Isopod Facts, the Tongue-Eating Louse”
A QUESTION FOR YOU: What do you think of the ISOPOD – Tongue-eating louse? Ewww?
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