I sometimes feel like I don’t do enough creepy-as-hell creatures here so this week’s representative is going to fill that quota by a long mile. The tongue-eating louse is not actually a louse but a crustacean and therefore more closely related to lobsters and shrimps than actual lice. As with the snakes of last week, the females are roughly twice the size of the males and the species is mostly spread out through the Pacific Ocean, mostly between the two Tropics (Cancer and Capricorn). There has even been a sighting in the UK but that was an isolated incident.
The interesting and therefore creepy and horrible thing about the tongue-eating louse is where it gets its name. It’s a fish parasite and there’s truth in advertising here. The tongue-eating louse uses snappers, literally eating away the tongue of the fish and then attaching itself to the stump left behind by its efforts to drink its blood or saliva. To be clear, it is only the female that does this, the male being usually satisfied with hanging around the gills or beneath the tongue or at least where the tongue used to be. The most disgusting thing about this parasite is that it actually replaces the tongue completely so that the fish moves the parasite as it would its own tongue.
I bet the Babel Fish isn’t sounding so unlikely anymore, is it?