January 21, 2013 - 8:02pm

By Tamara Cunningham, The Daily News

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tim Goater peers into a microscope in his Vancouver Island University lab and grins. "This is a nasty one," he says. "Just look at (the legs) on it."

He picks up a tongue-eating parasite that had been removed from a fish's mouth with tweezers and holds it up to the flickering florescent lights to illuminate the sharp, talon-like legs.

This is one of the most dramatic specimens in his collection and among the few parasites that consume the entire organ of its host, he says.

What is enough to make most people's skin crawl is enthralling for Goater. In fact, the more gruesome the parasite the more fascinating he finds it.

The professor, who lives in Lan-tzville, has spent 22 years exploring the phenomena of parasites and inspiring students to take up the study. He has built a reputation among learners as an unorthodox educator, helping to make parasites "cool" with bug removal parties and field trips into jungles in Belize.

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