The remoras /ˈrɛmərəz/, sometimes called suckerfish, are a family (Echeneidae) of ray-finned fish in the order Perciformes.[2][3] They grow to 7–75 cm (2.8 in–2 ft 5.5 in) long. Their distinctive first dorsal fins take the form of a modified oval, sucker-like organ with slat-like structures that open and close to create suction and take a firm hold against the skin of larger marine animals.[4] The disk is made up of stout, flexible membranes that can be raised and lowered to generate suction.[5] By sliding backward, the remora can increase the suction, or it can release itself by swimming forward. Remoras sometimes attach to small boats, and have been observed attaching to divers as well. They swim well on their own, with a sinuous, or curved, motion.

Temporal range: Late Oligocene – Recent[1]
Remora remora
Common remora, Remora remora
Scientific classification




Remora front dorsal fins have evolved to enable them to adhere by suction to smooth surfaces and they spend their lives clinging to a host animal such as a whale, turtle, shark or ray. It is probably a mutualistic arrangement as the remora can move around on the host, removing ectoparasites and loose flakes of skin, while benefiting from the protection provided by the host and the constant flow of water across its gills.[6] Although it was initially believed that remoras fed off particulate matter from the host's meals, this has been shown to be false; in reality, their diets are composed primarily of host feces.[7]


Echeneis naucrates Indonesia
Some remoras, such as this Echeneis naucrates, may attach themselves to scuba divers.

Remoras are tropical open-ocean dwellers, but are occasionally found in temperate or coastal waters if they have attached to large fish that have wandered into these areas. In the mid-Atlantic Ocean, spawning usually takes place in June and July; in the Mediterranean Sea, it occurs in August and September. The sucking disc begins to show when the young fish are about 1 cm (0.4 in) long. When the remora reaches about 3 cm (1.2 in), the disc is fully formed and the remora can then attach to other animals. The remora's lower jaw projects beyond the upper, and the animal lacks a swim bladder.[2]

Some remoras associate with specific host species. They are commonly found attached to sharks, manta rays, whales, turtles, and dugongs, hence the common names "sharksucker" and "whalesucker". Smaller remoras also fasten onto fish such as tuna and swordfish, and some small remoras travel in the mouths or gills of large manta rays, ocean sunfish, swordfish and sailfish.

The relationship between a remora and its host is most often taken to be one of commensalism, specifically phoresy.


Research into the physiology of the remora has been of significant benefit to the understanding of ventilation costs in fish.

Remoras, like many other fishes, have two different modes of ventilation. Ram ventilation[8] is the process in which at higher speeds, the remora uses the force of the water moving past it to create movement of fluid in the gills. Alternatively, at lower speeds the remora will use a form of active ventilation,[8] in which the fish actively moves fluid through its gills. In order to use active ventilation, a fish must actively use energy to move the fluid; however, determining this energy cost is normally complicated due to the movement of the fish when using either method. As a result, the remora has proved invaluable in finding this cost difference (since they will stick to a shark or tube, and hence remain stationary despite the movement or lack thereof of water). Experimental data from studies on remora found that the associated cost for active ventilation created a 3.7–5.1% increased energy consumption in order to maintain the same quantity of fluid flow the fish obtained by using ram ventilation.[9]

Other research into the remora's physiology came about as a result of studies across multiple taxa, or using the remora as an out-group for certain evolutionary studies. Concerning the latter case, remoras were used as an outgroup when investigating tetrodotoxin resistance in remoras, pufferfish, and related species, finding remoras (specifically Echeneis naucrates) had a resistance of 6.1–5.5×108 M.[10]

Use for fishing

Some cultures use remoras to catch turtles. A cord or rope is fastened to the remora's tail, and when a turtle is sighted, the fish is released from the boat; it usually heads directly for the turtle and fastens itself to the turtle's shell, and then both remora and turtle are hauled in. Smaller turtles can be pulled completely into the boat by this method, while larger ones are hauled within harpooning range. This practice has been reported throughout the Indian Ocean, especially from eastern Africa near Zanzibar and Mozambique,[11] and from northern Australia near Cape York and Torres Strait.[12][13]

Similar reports come from Japan and from the Americas. Some of the first records of the "fishing fish" in the Western literature come from the accounts of the second voyage of Christopher Columbus. However, Leo Wiener considers the Columbus accounts to be apocryphal: what was taken for accounts of the Americas may have been, in fact, notes Columbus derived from accounts of the East Indies, his desired destination.[14]


In ancient times, the remora was believed to stop a ship from sailing. In Latin, remora means "delay", while the genus name Echeneis comes from Greek εχειν, echein ("to hold") and ναυς, naus ("a ship"). In a notable account by Pliny the Elder, the remora is blamed for the defeat of Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium and, indirectly, for the death of Caligula.[15] A modern version of the story is given by Jorge Luis Borges in Book of Imaginary Beings (1957).


Remora SI
Remora Belize Reef

Live sharksucker, Echeneis naucrates

Remora remora 1

Common remora, Remora remora

Nurse shark with remoras

Nurse shark with remoras attending

See also


  1. ^ Friedman, Matt, et al. "An early fossil remora (Echeneoidea) reveals the evolutionary assembly of the adhesion disc." Proc. R. Soc. B 280.1766 (2013): 20131200.
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). "Echeneidae" in FishBase. April 2013 version.
  3. ^ "Echeneidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 20 March 2006.
  4. ^ "Sharksucker fish's strange disc explained". Natural History Museum. 28 January 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  5. ^ Beer, Amy-Jane. Derek Hall. (2012). The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Marine Fish & Sea Creatures. Leicestershire: Lorenz Books. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7548-2290-5.
  6. ^ Jackson, John (30 November 2012). "How does the Remora develop its sucker?". National History Museum. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  7. ^ Williams, E. H.; Mignucci-Giannoni, A. A.; Bunkley-Williams, L.; Bonde, R. K.; Self-Sullivan, C.; Preen, A.; Cockcroft, V. G. (2003). "Echeneid-sirenian associations, with information on sharksucker diet". Journal of Fish Biology. 63 (5): 1176. CiteSeerX doi:10.1046/j.1095-8649.2003.00236.x.
  8. ^ a b Willmer, Pat; Stone, Graham; Johnston, Ian (2009-03-12). Environmental Physiology of Animals. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781444309225.
  9. ^ Steffensen, J. F.; Lomholt, J. P. (1983-03-01). "Energetic cost of active branchial ventilation in the sharksucker, Echeneis naucrates". Journal of Experimental Biology. 103 (1): 185–192. ISSN 0022-0949. PMID 6854201.
  10. ^ Kidokoro, Yoshiaki; Grinnell, Alan D.; Eaton, Douglas C. (1974). "Tetrodotoxin sensitivity of muscle action potentials in pufferfishes and related fishes". Journal of Comparative Physiology. 89: 59. doi:10.1007/BF00696163.
  11. ^ Gudger, E. W. (1919). "On the Use of the Sucking-Fish for Catching Fish and Turtles: Studies in Echeneis or Remora, II., Part 1". The American Naturalist. 53 (627): 289–311. doi:10.1086/279716. JSTOR 2455925.
  12. ^ Gudger, E. W. (1919). "On the Use of the Sucking-Fish for Catching Fish and Turtles: Studies in Echeneis or Remora, II., Part 2". The American Naturalist. 53 (628): 446–467. doi:10.1086/279724. JSTOR 2456185.
  13. ^ MacGillivray, John (1852). Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846–1850. 2. London: Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. (Dr. Gudger's accounts are more authoritative, but this source is noted as an early account that Gudger appears to have missed.)
  14. ^ Wiener, Leo (1921). "Once more the sucking-fish". The American Naturalist. 55 (637): 165–174. doi:10.1086/279802. JSTOR 2456418.
  15. ^ Pliny the Elder. "Book 32, Chapter 1". Natural History. (cited in Gudger, E. W. (1930). "Some old time figures of the shipholder, Echeneis or Remora, holding the ship". Isis. 13 (2): 340–352. doi:10.1086/346461. JSTOR 224651.)
Australian Submarine Rescue Vehicle Remora

Australian Submarine Rescue Vehicle Remora (ASRV Remora) was a submarine rescue vehicle used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) between 1995 and 2006. The name comes from the remora, a small fish that can attach itself to larger marine life, and has the backronym "Really Excellent Method Of Rescuing Aussies".Remora was constructed by OceanWorks International of North Vancouver, British Columbia for the RAN, based on a diving bell. The 16.5-tonne (18.2-ton) vehicle was designed to mate with a submarine's escape tower, and could do this even if the submarine had rolled up to 60 degrees from vertical. The vehicle can operate at depths over 500 metres (1,600 ft) and in currents of up to 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph), and was intended for use below 180 metres (590 ft); the maximum safe depth for Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment. The submersible carried seven people: an onboard operator and six passengers. Those aboard Remora were kept under about five bars of pressure, and rescued submariners exited into one of two 36-man recompression chambers carried aboard the rescue ship.Remora could be controlled from a containerised facility aboard the rescue ship, with power, control, and sensors fed through an armoured umbilical cable. Twelve personnel make up the surface control complement, with this number supplemented by underwater medicine specialists and divers. The entire setup (Remora, control centre, and recompression chambers) could be transported by road or sea, or loaded into C-130 Hercules aircraft. Remora could be delivered to anywhere in Australia within 36 hours, and installed on a suitable vessel in another 25 hours. The Defence Maritime Services tender Seahorse Spirit was designated the main tender for Remora, although any vessel with sufficient space to carry and deploy the equipment (300-square-metre (3,200 sq ft) of deck space, with 8 metres (26 ft) minimum width) could be used.In December 2006, the umbilical cable parted during an exercise off Perth, trapping two men at a depth of 140 metres (460 ft) for 12 hours. The men were rescued, but Remora was not recovered until April 2007. The submersible was sent back to OceanWorks for repairs. Although repairs were completed, Remora did not reenter service as the Det Norske Veritas classification society refused to certify the submersible; the launch and recovery equipment did not meet updated safety standards. As of the end of 2008, Remora was in storage at Henderson, Western Australia. To cover the capability loss, the Department of Defence arranged for the British LR5 submersible to be flown to Australia if submarine rescue was required. In June 2009, LR5 was relocated to Australia on lease.Remora was the basis for the United States Navy's Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System.


Commensalism is a long-term biological interaction (symbiosis) in which members of one species gain benefits while those of the other species neither benefit nor are harmed. This is in contrast with mutualism, in which both organisms benefit from each other, amensalism, where one is harmed while the other is unaffected, and parasitism, where one benefits while the other is harmed. The commensal (the species that benefits from the association) may obtain nutrients, shelter, support, or locomotion from the host species, which is substantially unaffected. The commensal relation is often between a larger host and a smaller commensal; the host organism is unmodified, whereas the commensal species may show great structural adaptation consonant with its habits, as in the remoras that ride attached to sharks and other fishes. Both remora and pilot fish feed on the leftovers of their hosts' meals. Numerous birds perch on bodies of large mammal herbivores or feed on the insects turned up by grazing mammals.

Common remora

The common remora (Remora remora) is a pelagic marine fish belonging to family Echeneidae. The dorsal fin, which has 22 to 26 soft rays, acts as a suction cup, creating a vacuum to allow it to attach to larger marine animals, such as whales, dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles.


An echeneis is a legendary creature; a small fish that was said to latch on to ships, holding them back.

Pliny the Elder (1st century AD) also said of the echeneis: "It has a disgraceful repute, as being employed in love philtres, and for the purpose of retarding judgments and legal proceedings—evil properties, which are only compensated by a single merit that it possesses—it is good for staying fluxes of the womb in pregnant women, and preserves the fœtus up to birth: it is never used, however, for food." They were said to be found in the Indian Ocean. Isidore of Seville (7th century AD) and Bartholomaeus Anglicus (13th century) are among later authors of bestiaries that mention the echeneis.It is thought that these ancient descriptions refer to the remora.

Fins (song)

"Fins" is a song performed by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. It was written by Buffett, Coral Reefer Band members Deborah McColl and Barry Chance, and author Tom Corcoran. It was released as a single (b/w "Dreamsicle") on MCA 41109 in July 1979.

It was first released on his 1979 album Volcano. It reached number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 42 on the Easy Listening chart.

The title refers to the fins of metaphorical sharks, i.e. "land sharks", men who attempt to pick up the woman who is the subject of the song. She is said to feel like a remora due to the proximity of the predators.

"Fins" is one of Buffett's more popular songs with fans, and is part of "The Big 8" that he has played at almost all of his concerts. Recorded live versions of the song appear on Feeding Frenzy, Buffett Live: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and the video Live by the Bay. Buffett usually begins the song with a few bars of the "Main Title" theme from the movie Jaws. Concertgoers typically respond to the chorus line of "fins to the left, fins to the right" by extending their arms above their heads in a fin shape and moving them from left to right. Fin and shark themes have become a prominent part of parrothead (Buffett fan) clothing and gear and feature in several of Buffett's commercial ventures such as Land Shark Lager beer.

In 2009, Buffett wrote new lyrics to the song for the Miami Dolphins football team. The song is played during home games at Sun Life Stadium, and is used in tandem with the Dolphins' fight song after every touchdown the team scores.

List of A Series of Unfortunate Events characters

The children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events features a large cast of characters created by Daniel Handler under the pen name of Lemony Snicket. The series follows the turbulent lives of the Baudelaire orphans after their parents, Bertrand and Beatrice, are killed in an arsonous structure fire and their multiple escapes from their murderous relative Count Olaf, who is after their family fortune.

The author of the series is Lemony Snicket (the nom de plume of Daniel Handler), who plays a major role in the plot himself. Although the series is given no distinct location, other real people appear in the narrative, including the series' illustrator, Brett Helquist, and Daniel Handler himself.

Marlin sucker

The marlin sucker or spear-fish remora (Remora osteochir) is a species of remora found all over the world in tropical and temperate seas. It can reach up to 40 cm (16 in) in standard length. It normally lives attached to a larger fish; its host preference is for marlins (as the name implies) and sailfishes, but it will attach to other large fish.

Remora (genus)

Remora is a genus of remoras native to temperate to tropical marine waters worldwide.

Richard Baluyut

Richard Baluyut (born April 26, 1966 in Baltimore, MD) is a US singer and guitarist. He is best known as the lead singer and guitarist for Versus from 1990 onwards, but he was also a singer/guitarist for Flower between 1986 and 1990 and the lead singer and guitarist for Whysall Lane. He composed the soundtrack for the film Midas' Son. With Jeff Cashvan he co-owned Remora Records, which in the early 1990s released singles and EPs by New York City indie bands such as Babytooth. He is the brother of James Baluyut and Edward Baluyut.

Safe Havens

Safe Havens is a comic strip drawn by cartoonist Bill Holbrook. It was originally syndicated by Washington Post Writers Group in 1988 as a weekday only strip (opposite the Sunday only strip Outland by Berkeley Breathed), the strip switched to King Features Syndicate in 1993.The strip has been published in more than 50 newspapers. The strip originally concerned the group of pre-schoolers at Safe Havens Day Care, but has focused on Samantha and followed her as she has grown up (approximately in real-time) and gone through elementary school, high school, college, and (currently) marriage. The comic then went online in 2010.

The strip is located near the seashore in the fictional city of Havens, several hundred miles from the state capital. However, in 2018 the setting changed to a spaceship on a manned mission to Mars that is expected to last until 2021.

Shadow Raiders

Disambiguation: Shadow Raiders is also the title of the first book in the Dragon Brigade series.Shadow Raiders is a Canadian animated television series produced by Mainframe Entertainment (now known as Rainmaker Entertainment) and syndicated by The Summit Media Group, that aired from September 16, 1998 to June 23, 1999. The show was loosely based on the Trendmasters toy line, War Planets. The original character designs were created by ReBoot designer, Brendan McCarthy. The series focused on the four warring planets of a solar system called the Cluster as they were forced to set aside their differences and form a coalition against the menace of the Beast Planet.

Spearfish remora

The spearfish remora (Remora brachyptera) is a species of remora with a worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical seas. Remoras attach themselves to other fish with a sucker on the head and this fish is almost exclusively found living on billfishes or swordfishes, and sometimes on sharks.

Stravaganza (series)

Stravaganza is a series of novels written by children's author Mary Hoffman. The books are set alternatively between Islington, an area of London, England, and various cities in Talia, an alternate version of Renaissance Italy.

The series originally consisted of a trilogy of books: City of Masks, City of Stars, and City of Flowers. The popularity of the trilogy allowed the series to be extended for three more books: City of Secrets, City of Ships, and City of Swords.

Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System

The Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System (SRDRS) is a remotely operated underwater vehicle and its associated systems intended to replace the Mystic class deep submergence rescue vehicle for the United States Navy. Based on the Royal Australian Navy Submarine rescue vehicle Remora, the system is capable of rapidly deploying to a designated location, mounting to a vessel of opportunity, detecting and preparing the area around a downed submarine and submerging to great depths (2000ft/600m) to give aid and retrieve members of its crew. The SDRS then allows for the decompression of the crew.

USS Remora

USS Remora (SS-487), a Tench-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the remora, a fish with a suctorial disk on its head enabling it to cling to other fish and to ships. Her keel was laid down on 5 March 1945 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. She was launched on 12 July 1945 sponsored by Mrs. T. W. Samuels, III, and commissioned on 3 January 1946 with Commander Robert Sellars in command.


The whalesucker (Remora australis) is a species of remora in the family Echeneidae, so named because it attaches itself exclusively to cetaceans. It is found worldwide in tropical and warm waters; in the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from Texas to Brazil, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean, it occurs from Vancouver Island to Chile. It is the rarest member of the remora family, though this may reflect more the uncommon collection of cetaceans in the wild rather than the whalesucker's actual abundance.The adhesive disk atop the head of the whalesucker is the largest amongst the remoras, bearing 25-28 lamellae and measuring 47-59% of the standard length. The head itself measures 26-28% of the standard length. The dorsal fin rays number 23-26, the anal fin rays 24-26, and the pectoral fin rays 22-24. The jaws contain numerous large, stout canine teeth; the palatine and lingual patches are absent, and there are 17-20 gill rakers. The coloration is uniform brown, dark brown, or greyish-brown on the head, trunk, and fins. Whalesuckers observed off Fernando de Noronha ranged from light grey to slate grey, with lighter fin margins. The smaller individuals are barred or blotched, while individuals over 35 cm long have yellowish fins. This species can reach 76 cm (30 in) in total length.The most common host of the whalesucker appears to be the blue whale. Chitinous material indicative of parasitic copepods or amphipods have been found in the stomachs of whalesuckers, suggesting a mutualistic relationship with their hosts. Off Fernando de Noronha, whalesuckers down to small (4 to 9 cm (1.6 to 3.5 in)) juveniles are associated with spinner dolphins, and are likely recruited year-round from flotsam. The whalesuckers, no more than three to a host, usually attach to the flanks or belly of the dolphin, which may serve to minimize drag and facilitate feeding. When approached, they, especially small individuals, will shift to the opposite side of the host for protection. Whalesuckers impose a hydrodynamic cost to their host, their adhesive disks can abrade the skin, and they sometimes attach to inconvenient locations, such as near the blowhole or the genitals. The spinning behavior of dolphins, sharks, and other remora hosts has been proposed as a means of dislodging them. The whalesuckers feed on parasites and sloughed-off skin, and also forage on feces and vomit from the dolphins.

White suckerfish

The white suckerfish or mantasucker (Remora albescens) is a species of remora in the family Echeneidae, a group of elongated marine fish with adhesive discs for attaching to larger organisms. The distribution of this species is worldwide in warm open seas: it is found in the western Indian Ocean including Réunion and Mauritius, in the eastern Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Chile (but is rare north of Baja California), and in the western and eastern central Atlantic Ocean from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil and St. Paul's Rocks.The white suckerfish can reach 30 cm (12 in) in standard length. The adhesive disk is short and wide, the length 34-40% and the width 22-26% of the standard length, with 13-14 lamellae. The pelvic fins are placed far forward and narrowly attached to the abdomen; the dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins are short with reduced rays. The dorsal fin rays number 18-23, the anal fin rays 18-24, and the pectoral fin rays 18-21. The dentition is specialized, consisting of many large, stout canine teeth set in large patches in broad jaws. The head, body, and fins are colored light brown, light tan, or light grey to whitish. Three documented specimens from the Gulf of Mexico show considerable variation in color pattern, from uniform grey or pale bluish-white to light grey, darkening on the sides and belly and bearing numerous elongated spots. One living specimen immediately darkened in color when it was removed from sea water and lightened when it was returned.White suckerfish are rarely found free-swimming; they are host-specific to manta rays, and enter their host's mouth and gill chamber more often than any other remora. They are also occasionally found attached to sharks, and in the Indo-Pacific region to black marlin. Unlike some other remora species, parasitic copepods comprise a negligible part of the diet of the white suckerfish, suggesting it may not have a mutualistic relationship with its host. The white suckerfish responds to a touch on its belly by forcefully erecting its pelvic fins, possibly an adaptation to avoid crushing by its host. Nothing is known about their reproduction. It is used in Chinese medicine.

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