Raging Remoras

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Expedition Log: Palau – Day 2

Remoras are a unique type fish.

They use their distinctive specialized dorsal fin to attach to larger marine animals for transportation, protection and food.

These fish are most commonly seen underwater hitching a free ride on sharks, manta rays, whales, turtles, boats and occasionally even divers.

Today I fell victim to a remora rampage.

Within minutes of descending, I found myself being approached by several large remoras from all angles.

Remoras at Palau.

With the warm waters of Palau inviting a wetsuit free dive, and having had a remora attach in the past, I didn’t feel especially excited about the idea of a slippery sucker fish attaching to my body…I was in defense mode.

With these agile swimmers darting around me relentlessly, I felt a growing discomfort for the dive… I was now surrounded by six large remoras.

Remoras surrounding research diver at Palau.

On closer inspection to the behavior of these fish, I noticed the remoras were also trying to attach to each other. I pulled out my camera not only as a barrier to defend myself, but also to catch some of the action.

Remoras attaching to each other at Palau.

Without being an expert on this type of fish behavior, I hypothesize that perhaps the largest of the remoras may have been a female, the rest were males, and this was a performance to impress and out compete each other.

In an unusual event, to my surprise I witnessed two of the remoras swim into each other head-on, and latch on at the mouth!

Remoras attaching at the mouth at Palau.

In the future I will do my best to ‘pass on’ my remora performers by attracting them over to other divers which I later learned over dinner is “the only way to get rid of them.”

Photos by Stefan Andrews.


For more images from our Palau Mission, visit our Palau Photo Album:

Palau Photo Album


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