Science Natural Science Bizarre Tongue-Eating Parasite Discovered Off the Jersey Coast By Brian Merchant Writer UC Santa Barbara Brian Merchant is the author of The One Device, editor for OneZero, and is writing a book about Luddites. He lives in Los Angeles. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Brian Merchant Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy There's been a spate of amazing animal discoveries recently--the giant rat-eating plants found in the Philippines, a huge woolly rat discovered in a volcanic crater--and now, yet another animal has emerged that could be right out of a sci-fi film. It's a bizarre creature that survives by eating its hosts' tongue and then attaching itself inside the mouth.The sea-dwelling parasite attacks fish, burrows into it, and then devours its tongue. After eating the tongue, the parasite proceeds to live inside the fish's mouth. There's a horror film waiting to be made about this thing. Surprisingly, the fish doesn't seem to suffer any severe impediment--just the loss of its tongue. And it seems to have no trouble surviving with its new, far uglier tongue. While the isopod, a kind of louse, has been known to exist for a while now, discoveries of live specimens are rare. The BBC reports that "Fishermen near the Minquiers - islands under the jurisdiction of Jersey - found the isopod, a type of louse, inside a weaver fish." So no, the tongue-eater wasn't found in that Jersey. The Jersey Shore is still tongue replacing creature-free, if you stateside Northeasterners were worried about the thing ruining your late summer vacationing. Now, the picture above is a relative of the one discovered off the Jersey shore -- the one causing the ruckus, Cymothoa exigua, looks like this: Not that you'd have to be too concerned anyways--the isopod isn't a threat to humans in the slightest, though it's reportedly vicious, and can deliver quite a little bite. One of the fishermen who found the creature described it thus: "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'." And while it can't seriously hurt people, it evidently doesn't like them: "It doesn't affect humans other than if you do actually come across a live one and try and pick it up - they are quite vicious, they will deliver a good nip."