(CNN) — It is the stuff of nightmares…newly released pictures show a parasite hiding inside of a fish’s mouth where it ate its tongue.
That would be the purple guy there. Researchers at Rice University found the parasitic crustacean while doing scans of fish skulls.
They say the louse got into the fish’s body through its gills, settling on its tongue to feed off blood. Scientists say the parasite effectively replaced the tongue.
The assistant professor who found the tongue-eating parasite says it is not known how common they are among fish, but that it was an exciting discovery.