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Remora [Remora remora] (Linnaeus) 1758

Description—

The chief distinctions between the remora and the swordfish sucker is that it has a larger number of ridges in its sucking plate on the average (16 to 20, as against 14 to 17), and that there are only 22 to 25 rays in its dorsal fin, whereas the swordfish sucker has 29 to 32. Like the latter, it is a stouter fish than the shark sucker (p. 485), and its ventral fins are similarly attached to the skin of the abdomen along their inner edges.

Color—

Uniform brownish, blackish, or sooty, both above and below.

Size—

Maximum length about 18 inches.

Habits—

Very little is known of the life history of the remoras. The young fry of this, and of other species of Remora have been taken in the open Atlantic, usually in June or July which suggests a sharply limited spawning period. A remora may join a shark, or other host, when only about 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm.) long.[26] But we have yet to learn how long or how constantly one may accompany a single shark, or how often it may transfer from one host to another.

General range—

Tropical seas generally; very common in the West Indies, occasionally north to New York and to Woods Hole, and only a stray north of Cape Cod. It is usually attached to large sharks or to sea turtles.
 
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