Tongue Eating Sea Louse

Cymothoa exigua

Better close your mouth

Watch your tongue because this little parasite loves to snack on tongues!

Home sweet home

The Tongue Eating Sea Louse is found in the sea. Hence the name.


The tongue eating sea louse doesn't actually eat the tongue, but instead latch on and suck the blood and mucus until it shrivels and falls off. After the tongue falls off the tongue eating sea louse works as a tonge, grabbing parts of whatever the fish eats.


They are born and grow as boys, swimming into a fishes gill, then one will turn into a girl and mate. After she mates she swims to the fishes mouth takes care of the tongue and becomes the fishes new tongue!

Host picking

The Tongue Eating Sea Louse like to use fish as their host.


To coexist with fish, the Tongue Eating Sea Louse becomes a working tongue for the fish. They also share food


They are born small enough to swim into a fishes gill, but grow to be in between 3 to 4 centimeters.

Fun Facts

They are known as Tongue Biters.