What you didn’t know about (some) fish

I love eating fish but reading the article featured in this entry got me a little disturbed. Beware, you might get disturbed, too, of the image found inside. Just to give you a hint, the idea is, parasites found in the water find their way in to some fish of the sea, not to feed to on their flesh, but their tongues.

Yes, that's the mouth of a fish and the isopod inside it.

From Discover magazine:

Some species of isopods (crustaceans related to the less creepy crabs and lobsters) will swim into the gill of a fish, make their way to its mouth, and devour its tongue. It will jam its legs into the gills to hold itself in place, facing forward, its eyes gazing out of the fish’s mouth, taking the very place of the tongue it just ate.

What the effects are of these parasites on their victims are described in a couple of examples, one of which is this:

In 2003, for example, scientists studying isopods in a fish farm off the coast of Turkey found that sea bass with the parasites in their mouths had lower blood count than ones that still had their tongues intact. It seems that the isopods act like blood-drinking mouth leeches.

It’s probably not so much the idea as it is the image that bothers me. If it’s any consolation, these isopods don’t pose harm to humans.

But really, I think now whenever eat fish, more so fried fish that still has its head intact, I will be reminded of this.

Sorry for ruining your appetite. If you want to keep reading about it, read more from Discover magazine’s site.


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