Sharksucker (type of Remora) GALLERYEcheneis naucrates
Sharksuckers (Echeneis naucrates) are a
member of the Remora family of fishes. Unlike the
species known as a Remora, (Remora remora) which has
no distinguishing markings except for some
speckling, the Sharksucker has a much more elongated
body, and juveniles have a black mid-body stripe
bordered by white that diminishes to just the head
area as the fish matures. Remoras tend to prefer
manta Rays and Sharks whereas the Sharksucker will
also attach to large fish and sea turtles. They do
not just attach to the host in a permanent place,
they scoot around the host's body quite easily. The
suction disc on their head is an extremely modified
fore-dorsal fin. So, yes, in the pictures with the
Sharksuckers on top of the turtle's shell you are
looking at the Sharksucker's belly. Sharksuckers and
Remoras are not really parasites in the true sense
of the word, because they do not feed on the host.
(Like fleas and ticks that-suck blood) Rather, they
eat ectoparasites, (parasites that live on the
outside/skin of the host) like isopods and
flatworms, and they also take advantage of the
host's meal leftovers.
Along with the turtle pictures, I included a few pictures of a juvenile Sharksucker on a Stoplight Parrotfish.(Never saw it before or since). The Sharksuckers are difficult to take pictures of because as soon as you get close, they scoot around to the other side of the host to remain out of sight. They will attach themselves to sharks, rays, turtles and even boats. Don't be surprised if you happened to be approached too! If you do get attached, just grab the tail and peel the fish off toward his head.
Juvenile on Needlefish
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