Bizarre Creature – The Tongue Eating Parasite

By Anupum Pant

Background

Firstly, if you are eating something, or you are weak at heart, then go away. It isn’t going to be a pleasant one today because we are going to look at a really bizarre, and probably one of the most grossest creature ever – The tongue eating parasite.

Not that it is really needed here, but in case someone comes searching for it, the scientific name of this isopod is Cymothoa Exigua. It is one of those very large group of animals that includes crabs and lobster – called Crustacean. This one lives in the ocean and is parasitic. That means this creature lives and benefits at the expense of the other, called the host (fish in this case).

Changing Sex

Protandry hermaphroditism: Another interesting thing about these isopods is that the adult males can turn themselves into females. When a creature changes sex from male to female, it is called Protandry. This changing of sex at some point in life is called Sequential hermaphroditism. So, the tongue eating parasite is a Protandric Hermaphrodite. But that isn’t even what we came here for…The main tongue eating part is coming…

The Life of Cymothoa Exigua

The life cycle of this parasite starts with these little ones attaching themselves to gills of, say a Snapper(or others). They enter the body of a fish through gills. When they mature inside, all of them are males. Later, since they are Protandric Hermaphrodites, one of these matured males turns into a female. During this time the males are still attached to the gill arches.

The male that turns into a female, goes to the base of the tongue of this fish and attaches itself to it. It feeds on the tongue and destroys it. Then the parasite attaches itself to the stub and starts acting as a prosthetic tongue!

If you are not in a mood to read, the woman in the video below explains it nicely.

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Horrible Rare Genetic Disease Turns Humans to Statues

By Anupum Pant

Background

At an early age, the horrible, rare and poorly understood disease that we’ll discuss today – FOP – starts producing tumours in the body. Doctors usually assume it to be the fairly common cancerous tissue but when it turns out to be FOP, everybody panics. Yes, this one is more ruthless than cancer. How?

Well, FOP (Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva) turns humans into statues. It is also known as the stone man syndrome. It is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which the muscles and other connective tissues in the human body start turning into bone. Some times it happens automatically, other times it happens when the tissues are damaged. Gradually, the patients who are affected by FOP are imprisoned in their own skeletal prison.

FOP is one of the most bizarre diseases. And has no solid cure.

Why does it happen?

It happens because of a gene that fails to turn off. This gene is responsible to form bones in a baby’s body when it is still in the womb. Once the job is done, the job of the gene is to turn off itself. But when this deactivation of the gene doesn’t happen, the gene keeps making bones even after the child is born and ultimately turns a human into a statue made of bone.

Ashley Kurpiel: When Ashley was just 3 years old. Tumours started appearing in her arm. Doctors thought they were cancerous tissues and started taking steps to deal with it. Only when they removed her arm, the doctors realized it wasn’t cancer, it was a horror. They found, she had FOP. She was slowly turning into a statue made of bone.

Harry Eastlack: When he was 5, he broke a leg and then there were other complications while the fracture was being treated. The fracture didn’t set correctly. This made his hip and knee stiff and bone growths started on the muscles of his thigh. The transformation of muscle/tendons to bone started happening in other parts of the body too. By the time he turned 20, his backbone had turned into a single stiff piece of bone. When he was 39 years old and was almost turning 40, his body had turned completely into bone. His jaws were locked and the only part he could move in his body was his lips. Harry died from pneumonia before he could turn 40.

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