Galveston Island State Park recently posted about a “fishy” situation. A parasite called a tongue-eating louse or snapper-choking isopod was found inside an Atlantic croaker’s tongue.
Once it picks its host, the parasite proceeds to detach the fish’s tongue then attaches itself to the fish’s mouth to act as the tongue. The parasite feeds on the fish’s mucus. It doesn’t affect the body system of the fish, it just replaces the host’s tongue.
It is actually pretty common among the following species of fish: Atlantic croaker, spotted seatrout, and a few species of snapper. What’s weird is that it has never been seen inside a flounder or red drum in Texas.