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 22 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4249

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