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Huge parasite (doctor) in Leather jacket


Miraz
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Hey Guys!!

This is my first post on here but I couldn't help myself with this one!

Went for a fish this morning around kirribilli and pulled up a couple of leatheries and a small snapper that managed to hook itself on a 7/0 using an old yakka as bait. At first everything seemed fine with my catch, that is, until I brought them home and started cleaning them.

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That photo is of the fish on the wharf just before I left and as you can see there's a small hole/indent in the side of the fish with a little something poking out. On closer inspection at home, I thought it was a fin or something that didn't come out properly so I started to pull it out and that's when the biggest parasite I've seen came out. Now I've seen the usual parasites / "doctors" on the gills and tongues of other fish but this one really took me by surprise.

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The second photo shows the parasite next to the fish and the hole that it came out of. The plastic bag's there because it freaked me out after I watched "The Bay" a couple of weeks ago. It's a D class movie, but I couldn't help myself, and having seen it, I really didn't want to touch the parasite or the fish again even though I know it's harmless lol.

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Anyway, there's been a bit of talk on here about these parasites, but no photos as far as I can find so I thought I'd share. So please let me know if you've had a similar experience, or found one even bigger than the one I've got there, the parsite, not the leather jacket I mean.

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Miraz

Edited by Miraz
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I've encountered leather jackets with big parasites on them before... I'm not entirely sure what it does to the health or edibility of the fish, so they went back into the drink. It is kinda of gross seeing that thing lodged into the fishes flesh.

Fishingphase

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Record holder? Those things are disgusting. I feel disgusted by them. The first time I ever saw one was when it was crawling out of a yakkas mouth. Do they secrete bacteria or any toxins? From what ive heard they rob the fish of food and nutrients and thats about it.

Edited by SargeRX8
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They are quite common in the sides of leatherjackets, although that's the only fish I have seen them burrow into.

I've never worried about them in the past even though they do look a little alien to me

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The fish are still edible, nothing to worry about, have eaten fish for years and still alive and kicking.

The big fat parasites are found in jackets, the yellowtail have their own species of parasites. Have also found a few smaller ones on the fins of whiting, and an occasional large and fast swimming one on the pectoral fins of tailor.

Just kill the parasite after cleaning the fish.

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those things are what nightmares are made of. make my skin crawl lol.

every time i fished the hot water outlet at san remo, every single fish would have them. i think they are also called tongue eating louse

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^ You took the words straight outta my mouth Stan! I get the same feelign when I think of those parasitic worms that can exist inside the human eyeball and wherever you look, you can see them wriggle in your eye...

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Don't know what you are worried about. Fish and other critters shit in the water, have sex in the water, humans dump crap in the water, etc, etc.

Just take the parasites out, kill them, and eat the fish!

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Looks like Cymothoa exigua.

They are crustaceans - like prawns, crabs and lobsters. Throw the leatherjacket away and eat the parasite!

From Wikipedia

"It is currently believed that C. exigua are not harmful to humans unless picked up alive, in which case they can bite.[8]

In Puerto Rico, C. exigua was the leading subject of a lawsuit against a large supermarket chain. Because C. exigua is found in snappers from the Eastern Pacific and is shipped worldwide for commercial consumption, contamination by the parasite is inevitable. The customer in the lawsuit claimed to have been poisoned by eating an isopod cooked inside a snapper. This case, however, was dropped on the grounds that isopods are not poisonous to humans and some are even consumed as part of a regular diet."

Edited by Benzeenees
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