Only Animal to become its host’s tongue

Louse becomes fish’s tongue
This “louse” is an isopod crustacean, known as a tongue louse.  loudehttp-_wwwaustmusgovau_fishes_faq_images_tbiter2

How can anything be such a louse?

First the louse sneaks into  its prey -a fish through the fish’s  gills. It makes its way past the gills into the mouth of the fish. Then the  louse makes its way toward the dinner special-fresh live fish tongue.Using its claws to attach itself to the base of the snapper’s tongue drills its way into the fish’s tongue and  starts to eat. It will drink the blood and dine on ingested] food eaten by the fish.. It does not eat and run, but as  it continues to eat the tongue shrivels  until the louse’s body has grown to the size of the fish’s old tongue. It becomes the new tongue, the fish lives on,  just minus its old tongue.

This tongue-eating louse is  believed to be the only creature known to eat and replace the organ of its host.

All members of the family Cymothoidae are fish parasites and representatives occur in both freshwater and marine environments. Most attach themselves either to the buccal cavity, tongue or gill chamber. Over 400 species are known, many of which are found in the Amazon basin.
Excerpts from

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/item.php?news=719

Image courtesy of google images

loudehttp-_wwwaustmusgovau_fishes_faq_images_tbiter2.jpg

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