Photo Courtesy of NOAA CCMA Biolgeography Team
It's time for what I am sure is your favorite part of the week: The Critter of the Week! This week's critter is the Common Remora.
Common remoras belong to the family Echeneidae, whose members are marine fish that can clin...g to other fish via a suction-cup like structure on their heads. For the common remora, this structure is actually a modified dorsal fin that suctions to a larger fish. Yes, these fish are hitchikers. While the "carriers" aren't believed to be negatively impacted by the clinging remoras, the remoras actually have it pretty good. Not only do they get a ride (and moving water to flush over their gills), but they also can get scraps of food and protection by riding on a larger animal. Remoras have been seen attached to whales, dolphins, sharks, mantas, swordfish, and sea turtles. Like that of many pelagic species, the reproductive behavior of the common remora, and its relatives, is largely a mystery. (It can be difficult to study the behavior of fish that live in the open ocean). Here's an interesting fact about remoras: some cultures actually use them to catch fish or turtles by tying a rope to the remora's tail, letting it swim out to a large fish or turtle, waiting until the remora has attached to the fish or turtle, and then reeling the rope back.
Find out more about these "sucker fish" here: