Friday, December 18, 2009

OMG! Parasitic Woodlice?!

Apparently so I learned about them today in a book called Extreme Nature and they were mentioned. This is what Wikipedia had to say about them:

Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cymothoidae. It tends to be 3 to 4 cm long. This parasite enters through the gills, and then attaches itself at the base of the spotted rose snapper's (Lutjanus guttatus) tongue.

It then proceeds to extract blood through the claws on its front and less blood reaches the tongue, and eventually the organ atrophies from lack of blood. The parasite then replaces the fish's tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue.

It appears that the parasite does not cause any other damage to the host fish. Once C. exigua replaces the tongue, some feed on the host's blood and many others feed on fish mucus. They do not eat scraps of the fish's food.

This is the only known case of a parasite functionally replacing a host organ. It is currently believed that C. exigua are not harmful to humans unless picked up alive, in which case they can bite.


Well if I ever see one I'm not touching it. And it is an Isopod and so are woodlice, so woodlice are isopods and isopods are woodlice etc. :P

Who knew huh? Next thing you know they're gonna be saying they're parasitic millipedes or something.....<_<>_> O_O

Photo and info from Wikipedia

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