Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Remora osteochir, Marlinsucker Remora, the Marlinsucker

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head: sucker passes pectoral, 15-19 plates
body slender
D 20-26
pectoral rounded, all stiff
C blunt/slightly concave
11-17 gill rakers
pectoral rounded
pelvics broadly joined to body

Remora osteochir (Cuvier, 1829)


Body elongate, relatively slender; dorsal and anal bases < 2x head length; head disc with 15-19 plates, long (37-49% of SL), reaches well beyond pectorals, its tiny spines blunt, in 4 irregular rows; jaws broad, lower jaw projecting, top jaw not protractile; simple teeth on jaws and center of roof of mouth; operculum without spines; 11-17 gill rakers; pectoral medium, blunt, 20-24 rays, fin stiff to tip; dorsal and anal bases similar length, almost 2x head length; dorsal 20-26 rays, anal 20-26 rays; pectorals rounded, high on body, all fin stiff; pelvics pointed, under pectoral base, close-set, I, 5, broadly attached to belly; tail blunt to slightly concave (forked in juvenile); scales small, smooth, imbedded.

Overall brown.

Size: 40 cm.

Habitat: oceanic, hosts are billfishes.

Depth: 0 - 100 m?

Circumtropical; New York to Brasil.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Large fishes (billfishes, rays, sharks, etc), turtles & whales
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Ectoparasite cleaner
  • Data
  • Ectoparasites
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 40
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 100