Tongue-eating parasite: scientists have found it in fish's mouth

Tongue-eating parasite: scientists have found it in fish's mouth

The scientists discovered a new type of parasite. The purple-colored, beetle-like creature is a crustacean species. It settles in the mouth of a fish, eating its tongue and ultimately causing the death of its host. The discovery was made while studying the skulls of wrasses - ray-finned fish. The biologists found that the parasite, eating the tongue of the fish, actually replaced that organ.

The accidental discovery will help science to stimulate a further research on different types of parasites. It turned out that the new species can be found in different ecosystems, since it adapts perfectly in the host's body.

But so far its main habitat wasn't determined list at the Rice University. The study of the development of various traits in fish represents an excellent evolutionary model, since they account for half of all vertebrate species. Wrashers are the second largest family of fish, and Evans is creating 3D models of their skeletons to test some evolutionary hypotheses.

The biologist said that he was able to scan nearly 200 different fish species, and in some of them he found an unexpected surprise. For example, in the mouth of a wrasse, he noticed an empty space that only a parasite can leave behind.

On closer examination, it turned out that the foreign organism was actually a carnivorous individual, a parasitic isopod, which is a species of crustacean. Such parasites traditionally invisibly invade the gills and settle on the tongue, using blood vessels for nutrition.

They suck the blood of the owner until the fish dies. With this, they actually replace the language. According to the biologist, this find and the discovery made were shocking for him and the scientific world. Almost nothing is known about such parasites.

But the characteristics of their organisms show that such parasites can be found anywhere. Continuing his research, the scientist discovered 71 more subspecies of the new organism, and they all have biological similarities.