© Qing Lin
The bulbous tips of the aptly named magnificent anemone’s tentacles contain cells that sting most fish. But the clown anemonefish goes unharmed thanks to mucus secreted over its skin, which tricks the anemone into thinking it is brushing against itself. While diving in the Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Lin noticed something strange about this particular cohabiting group. Each anemonefish had an extra pair of eyes inside its mouth–those of a parasitic isopod (a crustacean related to woodlice). An isopod enters a fish as a larva, via its gills, moves to the fish’s mouth and attaches with its legs to the base of the tongue. As the parasite sucks its host’s blood, the tongue withers, leaving the isopod attached in its place, where it may remain for several years. With great patience and a little luck, as the fish darted around unpredictably, Lin captured these three rather curious individuals momentarily lined up, eyes front, mouths open and parasites peeping out.