The fishy find is believed to be Cymothoa exigua – a parasite that enters a fish through its gills and attaches itself to its host’s tongue
The creature found inside a tin of tuna by a horrified mum was a TONGUE-EATING parasite, an academic has said.
Horrified Zoe Butler found the mystery critter in a £1 can of Princes tuna while preparing her daughter’s dinner.
But now the fishy find has a name – Cymothoa exigua.
This, according to Stuart Hine, of London’s Natural History Museum, is a parasite that enters a fish through its gills and attaches itself to its host’s tongue.
Ms Butler, 28, sent a photo of the grim discovery to Princes, who have promised to investigate.
“I opened the top of the lid and saw a purply thing, a gut sack or intestine, then I turned it round and pushed it with a fork and saw it looking back at me,” she said.
“It’s got like a spiny tail along the bottom, it’s quite grim.
“I dropped the fork, jumped back, screamed a bit and shouted for my nan to come and have a look.
“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.
“I didn’t set out to get compensation and I don’t a want lifetime’s supply of tuna.”
The mum-of-two purchased the tinned tuna from her local Asda store as part of a multi-pack.
Her grandmother, Susan Goddard, 69, added: “It’s a little red and has eyes, bright black, looking at you.
“We did manage to ascertain that it was dead.”
Dr Hany Elsheikha, associate professor of veterinary parasitology at the University of Nottingham, said it could be some form of juvenile crab.
He said: “All I can see from the picture is a body and the eyes are very prominent.
“The legs have been chopped off during the process.”
A spokesman for Princes said: “We were contacted by Mrs Butler and immediately responded to apologise.
“We are arranging for her to send us the product so that we can look into this matter fully.”
An Asda spokeswoman said they were awaiting the outcome of the investigation.