The tiny creature discovered in a tin of tuna bought by a Nottingham mother from Asda is a tongue-eating louse, scientists believe.
Zoe Butler was amazed to find a pair of eyes staring up at her when she opened the can of tuna chunks.
The tiny tuna monster has set Twitter abuzz with explanations. The search for answers has been dubbed #tunagate.
But the Natural History Museum said the head probably belonged to a Cymothoa exigua, or tongue-eating louse. The parasite lives inside a fish, entering through its gills and attaching itself to its host’s tongue.
Stuart Hine, identification and advisory service manager from the Natural History Museum in London, said: “‘From what I can see I would agree it is the head of a tongue-eating louse, Cymothoa exigua, or similar. I think these are associates of smaller fish than tuna and fish that tuna eat.”
Butler, 28, said: “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 told the Nottingham Post.
“It’s got a spiny tail along the bottom – it’s quite grim. I dropped the fork, jumped back and screamed.”
A spokesman for the manufacturers said: “We are arranging for Mrs Butler 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.
– The Telegraph