Well this is an interesting little critter.

Meet Cymothoa exigua aka the tongue eating louse. This parasite enters fish through the gills, and then attaches itself to the fish’s tongue.

Using it’s claws blood is extracted from the fish’s tongue causing it to fall off. It then replaces the fish’s tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. This becomes the fish’s tongue and feeds off it’s blood and mucus.

While it sounds horrifying and I don’t know what that fish feels when you’ve got a parasite that’s replacing a body part, these things are harmless to humans and are safe to consume.

If you are interested in a what-if scenario where these things infect humans, the 2012 found footage horror film The Bay depicts a plague of these things that spirals out of control.


  • Jerry Eldini

    Do they taste like chicken?

    • holybagpipes

      Don’t give kfc any ideas.

  • Steven Stone

    great..you spend hundreds of dollars on gear,,you travel miles to your fish spot,,you wait for hours to get a bite,,then you get a bite and fight for an good 15 minutes ,,you reel it in then say damm thats a big fish,,cool..then you look in the mouth and see that……dammm i quit fishing ..im going back to shooting……..drugs.

  • thereforeiam

    That looks like a sheepshead. I cut the head off before cook em so if some enterprising critter gets a piece of the action then it’s cool by me…..because……nature.