Tongue Eating Louse


Common name : Tongue eating louse

Scientific name : Cymothoa exigua

Family : Cymothoidae

Native to : Gulf of California to Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador and Atlantic

Interesting fact : Weirdly, this bug has received its name because it enters the body of a fish through the fish’s gills, and then latches on to the tongue of the fish.

While the females are 8-29 mm in length, the males are shorter at 7.5-15.0 mm in length. The louse after attaching itself to the tongue of the fish, extracts blood through its claws, causing the fish’s tongue to fall off. After which the insect attaches itself to the muscles of the tongue stub, where it functions as the fish’s tongue feeding on the fish. Not much is known about the reproductive process of this insect.

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