Friday, 15 July 2011
Horrific Tongue Parasite Attacks
"Weaver fish off the Jersey coast have fallen prey to a horrific parasite: an isopod that devours the fish's tongue and then replaces it with itself. Fortunately, it doesn't eat human tongues, though it will bite."
Marine researcher Paul Chambers, from the Société Jersiaise, was one of the fishing party and identified the find.
He said he was surprised to find the isopod away from the Mediterranean sea.
Isopods are normally about 2cm (1in) long and live in fish, surviving on the animal's blood, in warm waters.
Mr Chambers told BBC Jersey: "When we emptied the fish bag out there at the bottom was this incredibly ugly looking isopod.
"Really quite large, really quite hideous - if you turn it over its got dozens of these really sharp, nasty claws underneath and I thought 'that's a bit of a nasty beast'.
"I struggled for weeks to find an identification for this thing until, quite by chance I stumbled across something that looked similar in a Victorian journal.
[blog no. 8/1000)