Common Remora, Remora remora: The Common Remora is a rather easy fish to identify due to its uniform dark blue-grey coloration and the identity of the host from which it is collected. It has an elongated body, long head (2629 percent of the body length) and a long suction disk (3442 percent of the body length) reaching beyond the pectoral fins.
This fish species has identical anal and dorsal fins with long bases that take up the rear portion of the body. The caudal fin is straight, the pectoral fins are blunt, and the pelvic fins are pointed.
This fish is a member of the Echeneidae Family which has four members that all frequent Mexican waters. The other three species are the Whale Remora or Whale Sucker, Remora australis (found attached to whales); the Spearfish Remora or Spearfish Sucker, Remora brachyptera (found only on billfishes; very short head disk), and the Marlin Sucker, Remora osterochir, (found predominately attached to Marlin with brown coloration). The remoras are sea-going hitchhikers that attach themselves to their large migratory hosts via a sucking disk, comprised of a series of transverse plates on top of the head. They have slender bodies and equal and opposite anal and dorsal fins.
They maintain a symbiotic relationship with the host, providing a parasite cleaning service. They benefit from the host by receiving a fast joy ride which they need for survival and an ample supply of food as a byproduct from the dining host. Very little is known about the biology of the remoras due to their need for fast moving water for survival, making study in captivity impossible. The remoras are subject of ancient Greek mythology. Since they attach themselves to ships, they have been blamed for losses of battles at sea due to the creation of drag, slowing the speed of ships.
The Common Remora is found in all Mexican fishing waters with the exception of the uppper 25 percent of the Sea of Cortez. It can be found attached to bony fish, dolphins, rays, sharks, ships, turtles, and whales. It reaches just under 3 feet in length and 2 pounds.