Working with seabirds means I’m also working with fish. Lots and lots of fish, delivered by the tons flash-frozen along with any other unfortunate creature that happened to be in the commercial fishing nets operated by the fish company that provides aforementioned frozen fish. Each morning, hundreds of pounds of thread herring, white bait, shrimp, sardines, glass minnows and other fish are defrosted in large watery holding tanks at the sanctuary. From there, we pick and choose pails of fish to be fed to birds in our care. Sometimes, species other than our ‘target’ species are discovered floating in the tanks. Like this remora, for instance.
This was a first for me, to see a remora up close. Since it would only be tossed in the slop bucket and thrown away, I wrapped it up and took it home to photograph. Hey – I’ve done worse! In this first photo, the remora is actually upside down, and we’re looking at the underside of the fish. Remora’s are also called sharksuckers, among other things, and I have no idea which particular species of remora this one is.
The remora attaches to a shark, dolphin, rays, or sea turtles with these nasty looking sucking discs on the top of it’s head, feeding on the scraps left behind when the ‘host’ animal or fish feeds. Remora also feed on parasites that may be on the host animal’s skin.
I’ve heard that some folks have used this fish to catch others by tying a line to the tail and releasing the remora. When the remora attaches to another fish, it is reeled in, bringing in the host fish. It would seem to me that the remora would let go with all that tugging on its tail, but maybe not. I don’t know that much about them, but they must have a pretty good hold on the host fish for that to work.
Anyway, aren’t they cute? Sort of?