Tuesday, September 20, 2005

crusty mouth biter

I was really disturbed last week reading on about a newly discovered parasite that eats the mouth of a fish then latches on and actually replaces the organ. This thing is really disgusting!

Cymothoa exigua is a crustacean. Once it's eaten the tongue, it actually works as a new tongue for the fish helping it to break down food. It literally lives in the mouth of the fish, an imposter, eating what the fish eats and getting fatter and crustier every day. What would you do if you were out fishing and caught a little guy with one of these tongue biters inside it? What if, when you were removing the hook, this thing bit your finger!

The beady eyes are what really get to me. He's just chillin', biting the bottom palatte of the fish's mouth, just waiting for the fish to gobble something up so that it can eat. It seems so large in proportion to the mouth of the fish. I wonder what it does when it gets too big to fit? What does the fish do then without a tongue?

For more information and pictures of parasites, check out this web site. According to this guy, 95% of Americans suffer from some sort of internal parasite.