Spearfish Remora, Remora brachyptera (Lowe 1839)

A Spearfish Remora, Remora brachyptera, from Mexico. Source: John Snow / Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific online information system. www.stri.org/sftep. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


The Spearfish Remora commonly hitches a ride on sharks, especially Blue Sharks. It also attaches itself in the gill chambers of billfishes and swordfish.

Body uniform whitish to pale pinkish or bluish in colour; head disc short, with 14-17 lamellae or transverse plates, not reaching beyond the middle of the pectoral fin. Dorsal and anal fins longer than head length, set far back on body; rear edge of the caudal fin straight.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Remora brachyptera in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 May 2021,

Spearfish Remora, Remora brachyptera (Lowe 1839)

More Info


Common and widespread, mostly in tropical and subtropical seas, and found throughout Australia. The Spearfish Remora usually hitches a ride attached to sharks, or in the gill chambers of billfishes and swordfishes. Like their hosts, the remora is epipelagic from surface waters to depths of 200 metres.


Meristic features:
Dorsal-fin rays: 27-34
Anal-fin rays: 25-34
Cephalic sucking disc: 14-17 transverse lamellae
Gill rakers: Fewer than 21 (first arch)


IUCN: Least Concern
Australia; Not listed

Similar Species

Most often confused with Remora albescens which has a longer disc reaching the pectoral-fin tips, and the head longer than the length of the dorsal-fin base.

Species Citation

Echeneis brachyptera Lowe, 1839, Proc. Zool. Soc. London 7: 89.
Type locality: Madeira.


Dianne J. Bray

Spearfish Remora, Remora brachyptera (Lowe 1839)


Collette, B.B. 1999. Family Echeneidae. pp. 2652-2654 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 2069-2790 pp.

Collette, B.B. 2000. Echeneidae (remoras and sharksuckers). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology: 615.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Echeneidae. In: Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Gray, K.N., McDowell, J.R., Collette, B.B. & Graves, J.E. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the remoras and their relatives.Bulletin of Marine Science 84(2): 183-198.

Lowe, R.T. 1839. A supplement to a synopsis of the fishes of Madeira. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 7: 76-92.

Morota, A. & K. Fujita. 1995. Interrelationships of echeneids and their hosts, and the reproductive habits of Remora osteochir in Hawaiian waters. Gyoruigaku Zasshi 42(2): 203-207.

O'Toole, B. 2002. Phylogeny of the species of the superfamily Echeneoidea (Perciformes: Carangoidei: Echeneidae, Rachycentridae, and Coryphaenidae), with an interpretation of echeneid hitchhiking behaviour. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80(4): 596-623.

Paulin, C. & Habib, G. 1982. Remoras (Pisces: Echeneidae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 9(1): 33-36.

Russell, B.C. & W. Houston. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle 6(1): 69-84.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37336005

Behaviour:Attaches to sharks and large fishes

Depth:0-200 metres

Feeding:Carnivore, scavenger

Habitat:Pelagic - oceanic

Max Size:50 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map