Fish Flea Anilocra, the Vampire of the Sea

by spotmydive

Here is a terrible marine parasite. Hooked to the head of a fish, a struggle for survival begins. If the fish succeeds in getting rid of this sea lice by rubbing against the rocks, it will be saved. If he does not succeed, he will eventually succumb, weakened and emptied of his blood by the crustacean. The anilocer is one of the isopods, which are known mainly as parasite of fish.


A formidable marine parasite

Anilocratic male measures 2 to 3 cm; the female can reach up to 5 cm. It parasites mainly the labrates but also other fish salmon, sharks, etc. It has almost no predators and a life span of 2 to 3 years. Excellent swimmers, the anisocers intercept their victim in the open water and are fixed by means of their claws, as sharp as needles, on the head or the body of their prey of which they suck the blood or devour the shreds of skin. An extraordinary fact, when two individuals are hooked on the same fish, they can communicate and reproduce using the blood circuit of their host. In some areas, more than 20% of the herd is parasitized. If larger fish survive such treatment, they are weakened by the marine parasite and remain an easy prey for other predators. The smaller fish, meanwhile, always end up dying of exhaustion. When Anilocra breaks away from its lifeless prey, she skilfully swims in search of a new victim …