Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 6 June, 2023
# under the sea
Experts identify 'mysterious creature' discovered in woman's can of tuna
And very sadly, it’s not a tongue-eating parasite.

EXPERTS HAVE identified a ‘mysterious creature’ discovered by a UK woman in a can of Princes Tuna.

Last month, Zoe Butler’s story went viral after she tweeted pictures of a tiny, black-eyed, almost translucent thing she found after opening the can of tuna chunks.

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The mother of two told her local paper, The Nottingham Post, that the creature has a ‘spiny tail’ along its bottom:

I haven’t shown it to the kids because they might get put off eating tuna. I just want to find out what it is and to make sure it doesn’t happen to somebody else.

As The Telegraph reported yesterday, experts at Britain’s Natural History Museum suggested that the creature might be a Cymothoa exigua; a tongue-eating louse that enters a fish through the gills and attaches itself to its tongue.

Cymothoa_exigua_parassita_Lithognathus_mormyrus Wikimedia Wikimedia

However, that was only a suggestion, and Princes Tuna sent the creature to a lab for examination.

They then determined that it was not a tongue-eating parasite, but a tiny immature crab, which is preyed upon by tuna and bears no food safety risk.

Butler seems relieved that the creature, which she named Eric, has been identified:

Aw. Looking back at it now, it almost seems cute.

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