Cymothoa exigua is a tongue eating parasite. It enters the fish through the gills and attaches itself to the fishes tongue. It destroys the tongue by drawing blood from it and then attaches its own body to the stub of the tongue. 


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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.


Crustaceans belong the the subphylum Crustacea, and are members of the invertebrate phylum Arthropoda

Like other arthropods, they have an exoskeleton, which does not grow with them, and which they must moult in order to grow larger. They have two-part legs (other arthropods have one or three-part legs), though the number of legs varies greatly between species.

The commonly-known species of crab, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, and barnacles all belong to the Crustacea subphylum, but they’re not alone - there are more than 61,000 species of Crustacean, and they’ve existed since the Cambrian period, 500 million years ago.

Though most crustaceans are motile and aquatic, there are some that are partially terrestrial, barnacles are sessile (non-moving) as adults, and a few  are parasitic, such as the whale and fish lice, and bizarre tongue-eating louse (Cymothoa exigua).

Nouveau Larousse. Pierre Larousse, 1898.


Cymothoa exigua

Cymothoa exigua, or the tongue-eating louse, is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cymothoidae. This parasite enters fish through the gills, and then attaches itself to the fish’s tongue, which it destroys by extracting blood through the claws on its front, and then attaches itself to the stub. Females are 8–29 millimetres long and 4–14 mm in maximum width. Males are approximately 7.5–15 mm long and 3–7 mm wide. 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. Cymothoa exigua is quite widespread. It can be found from the Gulf of California south to north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador. This isopod is known to parasitize eight species in two orders and four families of fishes. It is currently believed that species is not harmful to humans unless picked up alive, in which case they can bite.

photo credits: wiki, wiki, firsttoknow, zooeco

Flash has been acting up on me lately, I don’t know why. It’s why those last few things have been in photoshop, but I missed vectors so I tried to redesign some old Battle Masters monsters and I did as much as I could before I just gave up. These are Magmaster, Parasickth, and Florangst.

Battle Masters was sort of like a Facebook demi-Pokemon game, but way cooler because I worked on it!

Mystery tuna creature is tongue-eating parasite, says expert

The tiny creature discovered in a tin of tuna by a Nottingham mother is a tongue-eating louse, scientists believe.

Zoe Butler was amazed to find a pair of eyes staring up at her when she opened the can of Princes tuna chunks.

The tiny tuna monster has set Twitter abuzz with explanations. The search for answers has been dubbed #tunagate.

But the Natural History Museum said that the head probably belonged to a Cymothoa exigua, or tongue-eating louse. The parasite lives inside a fish, entering through its gills and attaching itself to its host’s tongue.

Stuart Hine, Identification and Advisory Service manager, from the Natural History Museum, in London, said: “‘From what I can see I would support the head of a Tongue-eating louse, Cymothoa exigua, or similar.

“I think these are associates of smaller fish than Tuna and fish that tuna eat.
“We could undoubtedly say more if presented with the specimen .’

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. .

2/15/15 - SCP150, “The Prosthetic Parasite”

SCP-150 resembles Cymothoa exigua (tongue louse), but is adapted to Homo sapiens. Upon contact, the subject embeds itself deeply in the flesh of its host. Within 48 hours, the limb nearest to the infection site will have been converted to a chitinous exoskeleton-like appendage. The exoskeletal limb is composed entirely of matter consistent with SCP-150. The host is capable of controlling this limb as a normal one, due to an advanced neuromuscular interface between the parasite and the host. The parasite draws nutrients from assimilated blood vessels, primarily the brachial and radial arteries in the arms, and the femoral artery in the legs.

Stage 2 of infection begins approximately 7 days after infection. Hosts report sensing an unfamiliar voice, urging them to act in a way that will result in the loss of the parasitic limb. Upon detachment from the host, the appendage acts much like a shed exoskeleton. Multiple parasites emerge from this “cocoon” and seek out the nearest host, thus continuing the cycle. In ██% of cases, the hatched parasites return to the original host. This will continue until all of the original host’s limbs have been infected. Once all of a host’s appendages have been infected and detached, multiple instances of SCP-150 will burrow into the host’s torso. These specimens will attach themselves to the pulmonary artery, the aorta, and the carotid arteries. The host’s chest will swell to ███% of its original size. At this point, between ██ and ███ specimens of SCP-150 will emerge from the host’s chest cavity. Stage 3 infection has a 100% fatality rate.