Live sharksucker

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Live sharksucker
Remora Belize Reef.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Echeneidae
Genus: Echeneis
Species: E. naucrates
Binomial name
Echeneis naucrates
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Leptecheneis naucrates (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Echeneis lunata Bancroft, 1831
  • Echeneis vittata Rüppell, 1838
  • Echeneis fasciata Gronow, 1854
  • Echeneis fusca Gronow, 1854
  • Echeneis chiromacer Duméril, 1858
  • Echeneis scaphecrates Duméril, 1858
  • Echeneis guaican Poey, 1860
  • Echeneis metallica Poey, 1860
  • Leptecheneis flaviventris Seale, 1906

The live sharksucker or slender sharksucker (Echeneis naucrates) is a species of marine fish in the family Echeneidae, the remoras.[2][3][4][5][6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The species is considered as circumtropical, as it occurs in all tropical and warm temperate waters around the world, except for the eastern Pacific.[1][7] The species can be found close to the coast, as well as offshore at a maximum depth of 50 m (160 ft).[8][9]

A live sharksucker is known to attach itself temporarily by its modified dorsal fin used as a sucking disc to various hosts, such as sharks, rays, large bony fishes, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, ships, and even sometimes scubadivers.[10]


Echeneis naucrates

Echeneis naucrates is a medium-sized fish which can grow up to 110 cm (43 in) length.[11] Its body is elongated and streamlined, and its lower jaw is clearly prognathic(it projects forward well beyond the upper jaw).[3] The jaws, vomer and tongue have villiform teeth.[3] The main distinctive feature to distinguish from other fishes is the oval-shaped sucking disc, which is a highly modified dorsal fin positioned from the top of the head to the anterior part of the body.[3]

The body background colouration is dark grey to dark brown, with a dark belly. A longitudinal stripe runs along the axis side of the body, it is always darker than its background colourwith a whitish margin. The caudal fin is black with white corners.


According to its maturity or situation (with host or not) the remora's diet varies.[citation needed]

As a juvenile, it sometimes acts as a cleaner fish on reef station and its diet consists of small parasitic crustaceans living on the fishes' bodies, like copepods, isopods, and ostracods.[12]

With a host, the live sharksucker eats parasitic crustaceans from the latter, food scraps from the feeding activity of its host, or some small food caught by filtering the water through its villiform teeth while the navigating on its host.[13]

Without a host, the fish stays close to the shore and can aggregate with other individuals; its diet is then composed of free-living crustaceans, squid, and small fishes.[13]


  1. ^ a b Collette, B., Curtis, M., Williams, J.T., Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Pina Amargos, F. (2015). Echeneis naucrates. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T190393A15603110.en
  2. ^ "Common Names List - Echeneis naucrates". 
  3. ^ a b c d "Slender Suckerfish, Echeneis naucrates (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australian Museum". 
  4. ^ Slender Suckerfish, Echeneis naucrates (Linnaeus, 1758).
  5. ^ Sharksucker.
  6. ^ "FLMNH Ichthyology Department: Sharksucker". 
  7. ^ "Echeneis naucrates, Linnaeus, 1758". FishBase. October 6, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ Cervigón, F., R. Cipriani, W. Fischer, L. Garibaldi, M. Hendrickx, A.J. Lemus, R. Márquez, J.M. Poutiers, G. Robaina and B. Rodriguez, 1992. Fichas FAO de identificación de especies para los fines de la pesca. Guía de campo de las especies comerciales marinas y de aquas salobres de la costa septentrional de Sur América. FAO, Rome..
  9. ^ al Sakaff, H.; M. Esseen (1999). "Occurrence and distribution of fish species off Yemen (Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea)" (PDF). Naga ICLARM Q. 22 (1): 43–47. 
  10. ^ "Echeneis naucrates, Live sharksucker  : fisheries, gamefish, aquarium". FishBase. 
  11. ^ Lieske, E. and R. Myers (1994). Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific & Caribbean including the Red Sea. Haper Collins Publishers.
  12. ^ Sazima, I., R.L. Moura and M.C.M. Rodrigues (1999). "Juvenile sharksucker, Echeneis naucrates (Echeneidae), acting as a station-based cleaner fish". Cybium. 23 (4): 377–380. 
  13. ^ a b security. "DORIS - FFESSM - Biologie et plongée - Faune et flore sous-marines et dulcicoles". 

External links[edit]