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Thread: Having your fish's tongue replaced by a parasite

  1. #1

    Having your fish's tongue replaced by a parasite

    While you are fishing, don't surprised if the tongue of the fish detaches itself...
    Replacing Fish Tongues and Other Bizarre Behaviors of Parasites
    Jan 17, 2008 7:27 PM

    1. Replaces fish tongues- Cymothoa exigua

    This parasitic crustacean feasts on the blood of the spotted rose snapper fish by attaching to its tongue. After several days the tongue atrophies and falls off. Instead of leaving the poor fishy tongue-less the parasite attaches itself to the muscular base of the tongue and serves as a replacement. Since the fish can use the parasite as it would an actual tongue the only negative effect for the fish is a small loss of food, which is eaten by the parasite. C. exigua is the only known parasite that functionally replaces a host's organ. Although this parasite is usually found off the coast of California it was recently found in the United Kingdom, most likely indicating that its range is expanding.

  2. #2
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    in a handbasket
    Well thats just gross. No more snapper for me.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  3. #3

    just wow

    that is an interesting and disturbing fact. pretty wild how little this impacts the fish.

  4. #4
    If the parasite can be used as the Snapper would it's own tongue, and I assume the amount of food lost to the parasite isn't enough to negatively impact the fish, I'd consider this almost a symbiotic partnership. If the only positive to the fish is to show off to others at parties.
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  5. #5
    symbioic if the fish is compensated by the organisam that ate it's tounge. seems that is still in question.

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