Tongue Eating Louse


The tongue-eating louse is the only example of a parasite that lives by crawling into another animal and after dispatching with a body part lives as a rather awkward replacement. It does so with relatively little harm to the poor bloody fish, though it is said the poor bloody fish rarely gets a smooch these days.


say aaaaah

He’s an unwanted guest, like some insufferable bugger from college who comes around and stays far too bloody long, at least he would be if that guest came in ate your chaise longue and quickly proceeded to decimate your wine cellar and didn’t leave until the day they died. The tongue-eating louse is quite possibly the most repugnant thing on the planet, worse than the Major’s wife and even a sniper wouldn’t take her out.


just a quick kiss... no no don't mind him

This louse is quite simply a monster, albeit a little one. The crustacean crawls into the gills of a fish, scrambles up to the mouth and stabs its claws either side of the fishes tongue. Despite its name it doesn’t actually eat the tongue, the organ atrophies as the parasite slurps the blood taking with it all the oxygen and nutrients and what not. There the louse sits for the rest of its life, why the blazes they never evolved to eat the tasty morsels the poor bloody fish is eating is anyone’s guess. One also wonders how they find this living-in-a-fishy mouth lifestyle satisfying.


... well on tuesdays i do Spanish classes... and on Thursdays I do salsa

So do we at The Proceedings wish we’d never mentioned the horrible buggers? Quite the opposite we think they are really rather grand! An incredible example of a pinnacle of evolution…. you see parasites rather obviously live off another animal to the hosts detriment. It’s a rather lazy, but devilishly clever survival technique that has arisen again and again independently throughout the course of evolution. It’s safe to say almost every single animal of any size has at least one. The really really clever, or more to the point the really well-evolved parasites, tap the hosts resources all the while leaving the host to live quite normally and hence as long as possible…. so that the parasite can tap more and more resources, and make more and more horrible little offspring. And we at The Proceedings can think of no other parasite that does it quite so well.

Indeed the closest we could think of is our own offspring, living off the nutrients of the blood of its mother, before popping out being a bit of a pain until you can eventually pack them off to a cripplingly expensive boarding school at the age of four. Which is at least some good news for the parents as they get back to smooching, a smooch that contains millions of micro-organisms, some of which are parasites.

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm  Comments (23)  

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Strangely, I read that as Tongue Eating LOUISE.

    • Don’t even get me started on her!

  2. Splendid job, old fellow.

    I have recently become quite addicted to your writings; I find them immensely humorous and also quite informative. Hats off to you 🙂


    • Why thank you! x

  3. Ugghh, poor fish and with no hands to pull them out, Yuck. I am more grateful for my hands now after reading this.

  4. Looks quite cute in the top photo – I can see the article in ‘Hello’ magazine – Tongue eating Louse welcomes you into its palatial (if somewhat reeking of fish) abode.

    • “Tongue eating Louse welcomes you into its palatial (if somewhat reeking of fish) abode.”

      Surely you mean palatal abode? ::defenestrated::

  5. My God… It’s like something out of Alien. Horrible. But very interesting nonetheless. I’ll let you know how I get on with the nightmares.

  6. Evolution can take some bloody weird turns. I think it likes to keep us on our toes…I do still have toes, don’t I?


      • What really? Damnations, here’s me writing all this evidence and then you go and tell us this? Jeesh you could have told us before Malissa!

  7. (parasite? or convenient scapegoat..?)
    Please don’t be offended,
    or spit in my eye
    It was a snarky tongue-eating louse,
    who said that, not I

    I would have never cursed so
    or tell you to drop dead,
    it’s the work of the tongue-eating louse
    who lives in my head.

  8. […] love it simply as a collection of wittily captioned photos of bizarre living things (think of it as LOLTongueEatingLouses)(and brace yourself before clicking that link)(oops! too late!), but the very clever writer moves […]

  9. hey…if it gets in the mouth does it just lay eggs and something in other words how does it reproduce??

  10. How do fish transfer them from one mouth to the other…
    man thats way worse than Mono

  11. i think they mate when the fish is french kissing

  12. How could MTV cribs have missed out on this little darling.

  13. I shall never complain of physical ailments again! Nothing could be as awful as having a tongue-eating louse living in your mouth!

  14. First photo is a horrible fake. It has a human palate and front teeth.

  15. my uncle omost throw up

  16. […] to point you to an excellent blog: The Proceedings of the Ever so Strange. They’ve even got a blog about the tongue-eating louse with even more horrifying pictures! The things they post about there are ever so strange, and extend […]

  17. the louse eats the toungue then re-attatches itself in place of the toungue and completely replaces the toungue-it only does this to fish

    • Wow, really? So there is a body of work from zoologists who have both seen and studied Cymothoa exigua and its method of attachment, yet you know different? Amazing! PS what exactly is a toungue? Oh and did you manage to spell your own name wrong or do you just descend from a long line of retardation?

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