cymothoa

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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.

A Cymothoa exigua tongue-eating isopod that has consumed and replaced the tongue of a snapper, who is not wide-eyed because of terror. That’s just how fish normally look. Photo copyright Matthew R. Gilligan (via Absurd Creature of the Week: This Parasite Eats a Fish’s Tongue — And Takes Its Place - Wired Science)

This remarkable attack is the only known instance in the animal kingdom of a parasite functionally replacing an organ of its host. And while C. exigua targets several other fish, attaching to their tongues and draining their blood, only with the rose snapper does it devour and completely replace the organ as an operating structure, according to marine biologist Rick Brusca of the University of Arizona. And he stresses that while there are hundreds of such species of tongue-targeting isopods, contrary to many media reports, only C. exigua can actually truly assume the duties of the organ.

If you can believe it, this is a love story at heart. And the rose snapper’s face is the stage on which it unfolds.

Alien In My Mouth by alex888 Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) with Parasite (Cymothoa exigua) inside its mouth.I took this while diving in Bali. The parasite isopod actually attaches and replaces the fishes tongue but looks like a baby fish staring at you from the mouth. Little scary if you ask me. .

Alien In My Mouth

Alien In My Mouth http://ift.tt/1Jjw6ht @alex888: Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) with Parasite (Cymothoa exigua) inside its mouth.I took this while diving in Bali. The parasite isopod actually attaches and replaces the fishes tongue but looks like a baby fish staring at you from the mouth. Little scary if you ask me. . #Underwater #Trending #Popular #Buzzing #Viral #Picture
Filed under: 500px, Pictures Tagged: 2015 at 10:07PM, 500px, alex888, alien, Alien In My Mouth, anenome, baby fish, bali, Buzzing, clownfish, eyes, Hot, May 14, ocean, Orange, paradise, percula clownfish, Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) with Parasite (Cymothoa exigua) inside its mouth.I took this while diving in Bali. The parasite isopod, Picture, Pictures, Popular, scary, scuba diving, Trending, Underwater, Viral

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