When someone is inexplicably silent you might ask them “Has the cat got your tongue?”. I have no idea where this saying came from, since cats aren’t renowned for taking tongues. I think it would be far more appropriate to change the phrase to “Has the Cymothoa got your tongue?” since the Tongue-eating Louse Cymothoa exigua has track record of tongue stealing, at least in fish.
Here are some of the odd little critters in a jar of alcohol in my office:
These bizarre animals not only eat the tongue of their fish host, but they then replace the tongue and take over its normal duties.
Here’s a video that shows a live Cymothoa found by a fisherman, if you want to see them in their leg-wriggling entirety.
Blimey! That’s one messed up inter species relationship. Thank goodness dogs don’t get them.
The “cat got your tongue” thing, according to the old boys from the Cutty Sark, comes from a fear of whipping with a cat o’ nine-tails.