(also called ‘suckerfish’, ‘sharksucker’, ‘whalesucker’)

a kind of fish – warm sea water fish – bony and scaly fish – with a brown long, elongated body with the fin on the back modified (changed) into a flat, oval sucker disc (disk), long pointed head with the lower jaw longer than the upper one; size: from the smallest 7 inches to 3 feet long, weight: —; feeds on (eats) the scraps of food or the faces (shit) of the larger fish that it attaches to with its sucker; lives for —; found in the warm sea waters of the world

a sucker disc on its head

Special Features:
The word ‘remora’ in Greek means “delay or hindrance or drag”.

The interesting feature of the remora is its ‘sucker disc (disk)’ on its head, which is the modified back fin with which it attaches itself to turtles, larger fish and whales, and even boats and ships, and occasionally to people!

a remora on the back of a person

The remora uses its sucker disc to attach itself to larger fish to take a free ride, i.e. it moves from place to place without much effort, and by staying close to larger fish, like the shark or manta ray, it is safe from predators (= animals that kill and eat it), and, in addition, it feeds on the leftovers, the small pieces of food, of the prey of the larger fish!

Though remoras attach themselves to the other fish, they are not considered ‘true parasites’ because they do not actually suck food or blood from their hosts as parasites do; they just take a free ride and eat the leftovers, and in return, they clean the parasites on the host’s body!

a remora attached itself to a shark

The ancient civilisations feared and worshipped remora: the ancient Greeks believed that the remora could cause an abortion in a pregnant woman; the ancient Romans believed that the remora could slow down or even stop a ship from sailing; the native people of Madagascar attach a part of a remora’s suction disc (disk) to the necks of their wives to assure that the women do not have sex with other men when they go out hunting!!

The remora is not a favourite food fish, but is used to catch sea turtles and other large fish by the fishermen in some parts of the world.  The fishermen tie a slender rope to the tail of a remora and let it in water.  The remora, by nature, goes directly to a turtle, shark or ray and attach itself to it, and when this is done, the fishermen carefully pulls back the remora along with the turtle or fish it attaches itself to!!!

Figures of Speech:

stick (attach) like a remora [said of a person (or thing) that stays close to another person, usually a famous or rich person, in order to get some small favours]


remora (noun)  =

(a)  a small software tool in computer system

(b)  a sling bag (tool kit) that is hung on the back or front of the body of a worker

Return to “sucker ~ succour” in Words Often Confused.

About the Author:BC Kumar

BC Kumar, an English Language Teacher, taught in numerous countries including Ethiopia, Oman and India, shares his knowledge and passion for the English Language. Disclaimer: This is a free educational website and all content has been compiled by the author. All copyrights to images and videos belong to their respective owners.

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