Remora is a word that has its roots in Latin. The word means to hold back or to delay. This name was given to the fish based on an ancient story that blames the remoras for the death of a Roman emperor named Caligula. The remora held the bottom of the emperor's ship and delayed him and his army to fight against the enemy ships.
Apart from the legendary tales, remoras are known to be interesting fishes due to their unique quality of sucking and attaching themselves to a host. They lack swimming bladder and yet travel across huge water bodies with the help of their host without taking any efforts by themselves. There are around eight different species in total across the world. These fishes are found around 110 to 380 ft deep under the water.
Remoras are types of fish that belong to the Echeneidae family of animals.
The remoras are Actinopterygii class of animals that are also categorized as ray-finned fish.
Although the Echeneidae family-based remora species is considered to be not extinct and of Least Concern, the exact number of this fish being alive in the marine world today is not known.
This fish species is found in the waters surrounding America, Asia, and Australia. They live off parasites and remains of food from their hosts. They have quite an understanding relationship with the animals that they are attached to as they help keep the animal's body clean and get food in return.
Remoras are usually found in the warm ocean, rivers, and sea waters. They tend to attach themselves to a big fish in the water that is mostly a shark, turtle, manta, or similar hosts. The sharksucker or Echeneis naucrates are usually seen attached to sharks in the coral reefs.
Remora fish are known to stick to other animals in the water and live with that particular animal for survival. It is thus also named sucker-fish. Their name also varies based on the animal that they are attached to. For instance, sharksucker and whalesucker are some common names that are referred to the remora that is attached to a shark or a whale respectively.
There has been no evidence of the exact lifespan of the remoras.
When the remora fish has to breed, both the male and the female remora are known to attach themselves to the same host. Their mating season is supposed to follow around the warmer times especially summer or springtime. In the Atlantic, this season occurs between June and July, and in the Mediterranean, it happens between August and September.
The male and the female release their sperms and eggs respectively. This is done at the same time and the eggs are fertilized in the free water bodies. These eggs are enclosed in a hard shell to save from any damage. The exact number of eggs laid after spawning is yet unknown. Once the young remoras hatch, they look like a big yolk sac with non-pigmented eyes. In short, they look like they are incompletely developed bodies and slowly start to develop a sucking disc with a length of 0.4 in. At the length of 1.2 in, the young fish attaches itself to a host shark, or other animal and starts living its life.
Remoras have eight different species and all of their species are considered to be of Least Concern by the International Union for Control of Nature.
Remora are either dark brown or blackish-gray in color. This sucker-fish has a long flattened head with a comparatively small body that is covered with smooth scales. The flattened head will have an oval suction disk with 18-42 plates that are connected in pairs and a crosswise pattern. This suction cup or disk is also called the modified dorsal fin. There might be 32-38 dorsal fins in the slender suckerfish and around 31-42 dorsal fins in the sharksucker fish. This sucker-fish also has small, vomer and many pointy villiform teeth curved inward with an upper jaw that is smaller than the lower jaw.
As the remoras do not harm the host, they are not considered parasites. Even then, these fish are not counted as cute animals.
Remora is a fish that uses its ability of touch to communicate. They are tactile in nature and are also said to use smells and other chemicals present in the water to communicate with others.
Remoras are small to medium-sized fish. This species can grow as big as 12in to a maximum of 35in. They are 10 times bigger than other algae-eating fish like the Otocinclus Catfish.
Remoras usually lack a swimming bladder which is the main reason why they attach themselves to a host. They use their suction disk on the head to connect to a shark or a turtle or any other being and travel across the sea and ocean with their help at their speed.
These fish do not weigh more than 2lb with a maximum weight that reaches 2.4 lb.
Although there are eight species of remora all around the world, there are no specific names for male and female remoras.
There are no records of a specific name for a baby remora. The general term for these hatchlings is known as young remora.
Remoras are sucker fishes usually known for their suction technique that they use for their survival. They attach to hosts such as manta rays, turtles, sharks, whales, and other big ocean animals and will feed off their large host. Along with eating the scrap or remains of the host's food, like the small crustaceans, fish, squid, and algae, they make sure to keep the host that they have attached to clean off any parasites and dead skin too. They might also eat planktons.
They are not that dangerous. There have been no cases of a human that was harmed by a remora. Although these fishes are known to ruin boats. They might even attach themselves to divers, the bigger ones with a strong grip might be a little painful for the diver.
Even though the remora is considered to be not-so-dangerous, having this fish as a pet is not possible. This is mainly because they attach themselves to big creatures like turtles or sharks, and keeping the big animals in a residential aquarium is not possible.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
According to the remora fish facts, the fishermen usually use them to capture a fish or a sea turtle. The fishermen attach the remora's tail to the fishing line and release them into the water. With enough patience finally, when the remora attaches itself to the large fish or on the shell of a sea turtle they pull in both of these animals as their catch of the day.
The fact that remoras can stick to a large fish like a shark and still stay alive is an interesting one. This is possible because of their unique suction cup which helps them to attach to the host and feed off on the host's remaining food. Their sucking disk is a special feature that keeps them unique under the water.
There is an understanding between the remoras and the sharks under which the remoras attach themselves to the shark's body and travel across the water body without any effort of swimming as well as eats the remaining or scrap food of the shark. Their relationship is that of give-and-take where the remora eats and travels depending on what and where the shark goes, and in return helps the shark be clean of any parasites, dead body cells and flaky skin. This is done by the suckerfish when it sucks all the unwanted bacteria out of the shark's way. Keeping itself safe from any parasites is what makes the shark adhere to this understanding which is why it does not eat the remora.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our remora coloring pages.