Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Parasite Got Your Tongue? Life History of a Crustacean that Replaces Fishes’ Tongues

animation of parasitic crustacean that replaces fishes'  tongue

Animation screen capture by Beel of tongue-eating isopods.  Here, several individuals are entering a fish (image source)

Woo hoo, says Beel!  It’s movie night, all day Friday.  Grab some popcorn and watch this really neat animation put together by Nova.  You know, Nova (PBS), as in we gotta kill the funding for those bastards.  Anyway, before the $$ are gone, they produced this flick.

The animation nicely summarizes the basic life history of Cymothoa exigua, a crustacean parasite that attaches to a fish, feeds on its tongue, and then replaces it!  Here’s a neat fact the that animation reveals: they’re all born cowboys, but some, well, you know, take a different path and become cowgirls.

Then, get this, they do it in the fish’s mouth!

 animation of parasitic crustacean that replaces fishes' tongue making love in the fish's mouth

Animation screen capture by Beel showing isopods engaged in oral cavity sex (image source)

The animation tells you these are isopods.  True enough.  What they don’t tell you is that this Greek-speak for aquatic potato bugs (AKA sow bugs, AKA pill bugs).  You know, roly polies.  (Actually, potato bugs are terrestrial isopods, but Beel doesn’t have the heart to tell them. Kind of like a Santa Claus thing.)

Watch, learn, enjoy, says Beel.

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2013 by in Beel Bemused, Natural History and tagged .

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