Your weekly Sunday post
Cymothoa are ancient creatures, some growing to a colossal size, smaller breeds, known as “tongue eaters” have been plague to both fish and merfolk alike until the recent ages. Their preferred niche is in that of any fishes mouth, they do, in fact, eat the tongue of their host, and take its place and then attach themselves to the back of the throat. They benefit from food their hosts ingests and are given protection.
Tongue eaters were sometimes used in ancient practice for “guppies” in training for opera, as the parasite has been known to improve singing tone and pitch. After this practice died out, they were considered scourge of merfolk and dropped severely in numbers until recent centuries. Some youth of Pilgi have adopted the practice of introducing cymothoa into their mouths. This is seen mainly a status symbol, much like piercing the ears/tongue or earning a tattoo. This moorish angel fish familiar can talk just fine with one.
Since many merfolk have poor sense of taste (despite having excellent olfactory senses) loosing your tongue isn’t a huge deal compared to cultures above water.