You’ve heard about a cat getting your tongue, but how about a tongue-eating louse?
Earlier this week, officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department took a photo of a strange parasite resembling a pill bug that is also known as the snapper-choking isopod, according to San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT.
The fish containing the parasite was found at Galveston Island State Park. Officials jokingly suggested on Facebook that the creature was a Martian before offering the true science surrounding the crustacean.
The tongue-eating louse attaches itself to the fish’s mouth and then replaces the tongue, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The parasite then survives in the fish’s mouth by feeding on the host animal’s mucus ― the only known example of a parasite replacing an organ of its host.
Although the animal’s modus operandi could be the stuff of nightmares, officials said in the Facebook post below that the tongue-eating louse “does not kill the fish or affect humans.”
So far, the reaction to the creepy creature can be summed by the person who remarked, “Thanks for the new nightmare material. The old monsters were getting kind of boring.”