Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Remora australis, Whalesucker, Whalesucker Remora

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head: sucker passes pectoral, 24-28 plates
body robust
body uniform; D & A - white margins
D 22-26
C concave
gill rakers 17-20
pectoral rounded
pelvics broadly joined to body

Remora australis (Bennett, 1840)

Whalesucker, Whalesucker Remora

Body elongate, robust; dorsal and anal bases < 2x head length; head disc very long (almost ½ body length), reaches beyond pectorals, with 24-28 plates; jaws broad, lower jaw projecting, top jaw not protractile; simple teeth on jaws and center of roof of mouth; operculum without spines; gill rakers 17-20, 13-19 lower rakers; pectoral short, blunt, 21-24 rays; dorsal and anal bases similar length, a little longer than head; dorsal 22-26 rays, anal 21-26 rays; pectorals rounded, high on body; pelvics long, pointed, under pectoral base, close-set, I, 5, broadly attached to belly; tail slightly concave (forked in juvenile); scales small, smooth, imbedded.

Dark blue to slate grey, dorsal and anal fins with narrow white margins.

Size: 76 cm.

Habitat: oceanic, hosts are whales.

Depth: 0 -100 m?

A circumtropical species; S Carolina to the Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Large fishes (billfishes, rays, sharks, etc), turtles & whales
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Ectoparasite cleaner
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Ectoparasites
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 76
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 100