| Ecological Descriptors
|Pel or attached to host
Body is elongate. It has a dark brown, horizontal stripe through eye and sometimes on mid-side of body bordered with white stripes. Dorsal, anal and caudal fins almost completely dark in adults. Tail truncate. Tips of longest rays of dorsal and anal fins, and tips of lobes of caudal fin without a large light area (cf Whitefin Sharksucker E. neucratoides). Front dorsal fin highly modified to form a sucking disc on top of head used for attaching to host.
Unlike most other remoras, Echeneis naucrates is often found free-swimming in shallow inshore waters. It is commonly seen near shore and around coral reefs at depths to 50m. It is frequently sighted without a host and will occasionally stray into estuaries. It attaches temporarily to a wide variety of hosts particularly sharks, but also including rays, jacks, parrotfishes, sea turtles and also ships, buoys, and even bathers. Its diet consists of small fishes, its host's parasites, and scraps from its host's prey. Juveniles will occasionally clean fishes at reef cleaning
Spawns over the summer months. First maturation occurs at 10-13 cm. The eggs are fertilized externally followed by enclosure of a hard shell, which protects them from damage and desiccation. These pelagic eggs are large and spherical in shape. When the embryos hatch, each measures 0.18-0.30 inches (.47-.75 cm) in length. These young fish have a large yolk sac, non-pigmented eyes, and an incompletely developed body. During development of the newly hatched fish, the sucking disc begins to form. Small teeth appear on the upper jaw and large teeth on the lower jaw during this period. Immature sharksuckers live freely for about one year until reaching approximately 1.2 inches (3 cm) in length at which time they attack to a host fish.
(C) Dr P Ryan/ RyanPhotographic