The Beacon

Blog Tags: Remoras

Thursday Trivia: Sharksucker

nurse shark with sharksuckers

Sharksuckers hitch a ride with a nurse shark. [Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

Imagine a fish with a suction cup on the top of its head – that’s basically what a sharksucker, or remora, is. This fish isn’t a very strong swimmer, so to get around it hitches a ride with a shark, large fish, whale, sea turtle, stingray, or even a ship.

As an added perk, the sharksucker gets to munch scraps from its host’s meals, in addition to the small fish it catches itself. The shark neither suffers nor benefits from its relationship with the sharksucker (tweet us with the term for this type of relationship, and you could win a cool tote bag!) 

Sharksuckers are found throughout warm waters, either attached to a host or swimming freely over corals, where they help keep reef fish clean. These fish can grow up to about a yard long.

Some fishermen have developed a clever use for sharksuckers: they tie line around the fish’s tail, then release it. The sharksucker looks for an animal to attach itself to, then the fisherman reels the pair back in.

Otherwise, sharksuckers are not popular targets for fishermen. In fact, the main risk they face is shrinking populations of sharks and other large marine animals to host them.

You can learn more about sharksuckers from Oceana’s marine wildlife encyclopedia.


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