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Florida Go Fishing man holding snook fish

Remora (Remora remora)

Species > Remora

remora swimming in the waterThe common Remora (Remora remora) is often called a sucker fish or hitch hiker because it is usually encountered attached to a larger species such as whales, dolphins, sharks and turtles.

We have heard many times that remora are saltwater leeches - nothing is further from the truth. Remora hold on to their host and feed on scraps that drift by them as their host feeds. Not only do they get free meals while attached to a big fish, they will also get free transportation, protection and sometimes mate! Remoras can swim but they need water constantly moving over their gills to survive, something a large host provides them. While attached to another species, the remora does not harm the fish, it only holds on by creating a vacuum with its sucker plate which is actually a dorsal fin.

Another misconception is that remoras clean their host fish - nope, they just hang on for a free ride. And they don't stick around long, some can stay with their big daddy for 3 months but most find better accommodations more often. Sometimes choosing the wrong host such as a shark can be fatal if the host decides it would rather eat the remora for dinner than allow it to hitch hike. Remoras have also been know to attach to boats and even to divers.

The remora can be black, brown or grey, some with horizontal lines down their bodies like the one pictured below. Commonly found at 16 inches and weighing about 2.5 pounds, the remora can grow to almost 3 feet.

Since the remora doesn't travel in schools and is not commonly caught on hook and line, it is not targeted by anglers for bait. Most anglers release this beautiful species. If you feel so inclined, you could use the remora for bait since it is not regulated.

closeup of ramora facehand holding a ramora on a boat

Closeup of Remora fish's top of head that is a suction cup used to attach to big fish like whales and sharksRemora fish stuck to the roof of a boat, a mans hand is near it