Remora, Remora remora

The Remora, Remora remora, has the common Spanish name of rémora tiburonera, is a species in the Remora or Echenedae Family, known collectively as remoras and pega pega in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Common Remora. Globally, there are only five species in the genus Remora, and all five are found in Mexican waters of both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The Remoras have elongated robust bodies that are either a uniform gray or a uniform dark brown color. Their head has a straight lower and flat upper profile with large black eyes and a short disc that is 31-33% of standard length and reaches to the end of the pectoral fins with 16 to 22 lamellae. They have 28 to 37 gill rakers. Their lower jaw is projecting and their mouth has numerous small pointed teeth. Their anal and dorsal fin bases are of similar size and shape and are significantly longer than the head but less than two times the head length; the caudal fin is forked in juveniles transitioning to straight in adults; their pectoral fins are mid-sized and blunt; and their pelvic fins are pointed and joined to the belly.

The Remoras are oceanic pelagic fish that travel attached to their hosts (sharks and other large fish, rays and turtles) and are found at depths up to 650 feet. They reach a maximum length of 86 cm (34 inches). Very little is known about their biology due to their need for fast moving water for survival, making study in captivity impossible.

In Mexican waters the Remoras are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the northern 20% of the Sea of Cortez. They are more common in southern Mexican waters.

The Remora is an easy fish to identify due to its lamellae count, the length of its pectoral fins, and the host on which it resides.

The Remoras are too rare and too unappealing to be of interest to most. They are most definitely a “catch-and-release”.

Remora (1)Remora (2)

Remora, Remora remora: Fish provided by a Striped Marlin caught from coastal waters off Point Palmilla, January 2007. Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). White coloration is atypical. Fish identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.