The Vampire Parasite That Replaces A Fish's Tongue

Looking for the next animal star for your heartwarming Pixar movie? How about the Cymothoa exigua, a tiny crustacean that invades the mouth of fish, sucks the blood out of the host's tongue, then gives birth to its babies inside the fish's mouth? We could call it Pixar's One Long Continuous Scream?

Elkin Fricke/Wiki CommonsWorking title.

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The Cymothoa exigua accomplishes this needlessly elaborate, super needlessly grotesque task by making its way through the fish's gills, then latching onto the base of the tongue. From there, it slowly sucks the blood out of the tongue until the organ withers away and falls off. It then lives inside the fish in place of its tongue, eventually reproducing:

Maria Sala-Bozano/University of SalfordThe Mating Call Of Cthulhu

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It raises its young inside the fish's mouth, then releases them once they're old enough to create lil' horror stories of their own. Then the Cymothoa either floats away or lingers and gets eaten by the fish. We'd ask about the taste, but that's a question for philosophers to answer.

Still wouldn't hurt to get yourself an anti-vampire pendant for the next time you go to the beach.

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For more, check out This Bizarre Fish Looks Just Like The Predator and This Spider Builds 80-Foot-Long Webs Stronger Than Kevlar.

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