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Meet The Grossest Parasites Ever

Parasites are definitely gross, but they're often pretty ingenious, too. Take the Cymothoa exigua, for example. The female will latch onto a fish's tongue, then extract blood until the tongue atrophies and falls off. By securing itself to the stub where the tongue used to be, the parasite becomes a stand-in tongue for the fish. The much-smaller males live in the fish's gill chamber, and may become female if there isn't already one in the fish's mouth.

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Parasite Got Your Tongue?

The Cymothoa exigua lives in the best place for food: a mouth.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Adult Cymothoa exigua males can become females. 00:36

  2. A female Cymothoa exigua attaches herself to the base of a fish's tongue, then extracts blood from it until the tongue withers and dies. 01:02

  3. Male Cymothoa exigua living in a fish's gill chamber might mate with the female living in the mouth. 01:34

The World's Scariest Parasites

Here are plenty of reasons you don't want to encounter a parasite -- as if you needed even one.

Human-Loving Parasites

Meet the human body's potential tenants.

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4 Parasites That Might Live Inside You

There's a possibility you have these parasites already.

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