There are some things that exist in the world that are gross enough to make your whole body go “BLEGH.”
Parasites are some of those things. It’s like the world of insects has no boundaries to how gross it can get. Once you get beyond the ick factor, if that’s even possible, some of them are pretty fascinating, though. There’s one creepy-crawly so ingenious that it uses a host to get its food, but don’t worry. This tongue-eating louse doesn’t go after humans.
Cymothoa exigua is a parasitic isopod and it exclusively goes after fish. It enters a fish’s mouth through its gills and then it does something super creepy.
The parasite severs the blood vessels of the fish’s tongue, causing it to fall completely off. Gross!
Then this tongue-eating louse takes the place of the fish’s tongue, feasting on any food the sorry critter tries to eat. And if you think the photos are gross, wait until you see the video on the next page.