Isopod Got Your Tongue?

We knew about Giant Isopods that live in the deep oceans. We have also seen smaller isopods that attach to the faces of fish and live off scraps that are left when the fish eat:


Until today, however, I did not know about isopods that live in the mouths of fish. And it gets worse. The Tongue Eating Louse (Cymothoa exigua) enters a fish through its gills and attaches to the base of the tongue, where it uses claws on its front legs to drain blood from the tongue. As the tongue atrophies, the parasite attaches itself to the tongue stump and acts as if it were the tongue. Apparently the fish can even control the parasite as if it were their tongue, although how we figured that out I am not sure.


The parasites live off the blood or mucus of the fish and, aside from eating the tongue, do no other harm to their host. Normally found off the coast of California, they have also turned up in the UK in 2005 and 2009.

3 Responses to “Isopod Got Your Tongue?”

  1. Fish with nits? Says:

    […] 1,884 Times in 1,243 Posts Isopod Got Your Tongue? | Les Fruits De Mer Good shots Miss Vonny… love the tompot "People say that I'm arsey, Northern and […]

  2. brad Says:

    i have been fishing today and found 8 of these parasites in my fish two on some i live in australia at lake maquarie…

  3. caden Says:

    Is a mutation possible to cause these iPods to become more hostile. If they could replace the young of a fish. Couldn’t they replace a human tounge?