Spearfish Remora

Spearfish Remora, Remora brachptera

The Spearfish Remora, Remora brachptera, whose common Spanish name is rémora robusta, is a species in the Remora or Echeneidae Family, known collectively as remoras and pega pega in Mexico. 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 Spearfish Remoras have elongated robust bodies that are a uniform brown color. Their head has a convex lower and flat upper profile with big black eyes and a short disc that is 31 to 33% of standard length and reaches the middle of the pectoral fins with 14 to 17 lamellae. They have 14 to 17 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; their caudal fin is either concave or “W” shaped in larger fish; their pectoral fins are broad and blunt; and their pelvic fins are joined to the belly.

The Spearfish Remoras are oceanic pelagic fish that travel attached to their hosts (normally a Spearfish) and are found at depths up to 650 feet. They reach a maximum length of 50 cm (20 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 Spearfish Remora are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the northern portions of the Sea of Cortez. They are more common in southern Mexican waters.

The Spearfish Remora is an easy fish to identify due to its lamellae count and the length of its pectoral fins. It is, however, somewhat similar to the White Suckerfish, Remora albescens (pectoral fins reach end of disc).

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

Spearfish Remora

Spearfish Remora, Remora brachyptera. Fish collected off the beach alive at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, February 2012. Length: 21 cm (8.3 inches). Most unusual!