|Scientific Name||Cymothoa exigua|
|Comments||The tongue-eating isopod causes degeneration of the tongue of its host fish, the rose snapper, Lutjanus guttatus, and it then attaches to the remaining tongue stub and floor of the fish's mouth by hook-like pereopods. In this position the isopod superficially resembles its host's missing tongue. Brusca & Gilligan (1983) hypothesize that these isopods serve as a mechanical replacement for the fish's tongue and represent the first known case in animals of functional replacement of a host structure by a parasite. This relationship is so-far known only from the Gulf of California.|
Alex Kerstitch. 1989. Sea of Cortez Marine Invertebrates. Sea Challengers, Monteray, California.
Brusca, R. C. and M. R. Gilligan. 1983. Tongue replacement in a fish by a parasitic Isopod. Copeia. 1983(3):813-816.
|Specimen Condition||Live Specimen|
|Copyright||© 1989 Matthew Gilligan, Savannah State College, Savannah, GA|
|Attached to Group||Isopoda: view page image collection|
|ALT Text||Tongue-eating isopod|