This is an animal living in water. So be careful before drinking water. And use boiling water to drink. Please do forward this msg to everyone.
Be careful if you are drinking tap or stream water without boiling it. This is an animal living in water. So be careful before drinking water. And please boil your water before drinking. Please do forward this msg to everyone.
Various messages attached to a set of pictures of what appear like transparent fishes warn people that they can live in your tap/stream drinking water unseen and can harm you when consumed. So it is suggested to boil water before drinking. Let us analyze how far the transparent animals living in water can be harmful to humans drinking the same.
What are shown in the pictures are called Transparent Eel Larvae (Leptocephalus larva), which are in fact Baby Eels in their early stage of life cycle. Leptocephalus (which means slim heads) is translucent, ribbon-like pelagic larva of marine eels, some freshwater eels and other members of Elopomorpha. Fishes with this transparent eel larva stage is seen in most popular species like conger, Moray and garden eels. The flat and transparent larvae of the eels later transform to Glass Eels (transparent skin), Elvers (gaining pigmentation) and Juvenile eels (also called yellow eels) gradually, migrating places and changing waters (see pictures).
Toxicity and Food
The blood of Eels is poisonous to humans and other mammals, causing muscular cramps that can affect the heart; however, both cooking and the human digestive system destroy the toxic protein. Freshwater eels are a food fish popular in Asia and Europe; even glass eels are used on menus in various countries like England, Canada, Spain and some states of America. The Transparent Eel Larvae, i.e. Leptocephali are poorly understood. They lack red blood cells, but have transparent jelly-like substances inside their bodies, and they appear to feed on tiny particles floating free in the ocean called marine snow. Nonetheless, rarely though, Leptocephali themselves are used as food in some parts of Japan and are often served uncooked; eaten after dipping in Tosazu mixed vinegar (disinfectant).
In Drinking Water & Likeliness
With the available information mentioned above, it can be inferred that the Transparent Eel Larva can be harmful to humans when consumed along with drinking water. So it is certainly advisable to boil the drinking water coming from tap/streams. However, the likeliness of the Leptocephalus larvae reaching drinking water is less. This is because, the Leptocephalus larvae stage occurs for about 3 months to more than a year, during which many of them are eaten by predators, and many even die in their natural upstream migration before they ever reach fresh water. Nonetheless, to prevent any such unseen, hidden contamination, it is better to be safe than sorry and boil your drinking water.
Hoax or Fact: