Sucking Fish, the popular name of the re-mora, a spiny-rayed fish of the genus echeneis (Linn.), so named from the Greek έχειν, to hold, and ναύς, a ship. The body is elongated, tapering behind, covered with very small scales; there are four perfect branchiae; very small teeth on jaws, vomer, and palate, crowded and hardly distinguishable posteriorly; mouth small and horizontal, the lower jaw the longer; eyes above the angles of the mouth; ventrals thoracic, narrow, united only at the base; head flattened. Above the head and anterior dorsal vertebra3 is an oval disk, presenting from the middle to both sides oblique transverse cartilaginous plates, arranged like the slats of a Venetian blind; on the middle of the under surface are spine-like projections connected by short bands with the skull and vertebra?, and their upper margin is beset with fine teeth. According to De Blainville, this organ is an anterior dorsal fin, whose rays are split and expanded horizontally on each side instead of standing erect in the usual way. By means of this apparatus, partly suctorial and partly prehensile by the hooks, these fishes attach themselves to rocks, ships, and the bodies of other fishes, especially to sharks.

The dorsal is opposite the anal, but the fins are weak, and these fishes accordingly adhere to sharks and other moving bodies, which transport them to places where food is abundant, and often from the tropics to temperate regions. There are six or eight pyloric appendages, but no air bladder. The common sucking fish of the Mediterranean, so well known to the ancients (E. remora, Linn.), is from 12 to 18 in. long, shaped somewhat like a herring, dusky brown above and lighter below; it has 17 or 18 plates on the head; it occurs in the Atlantic ocean, on the British coasts, and has even wandered to the American shores. The Indian remora (E. naucrates, Linn.) attains a length of 2½ ft.; it is olive-brown above and whitish on the sides, and has 22 to 24 plates in the sucking disk; it is found in the Atlantic, on the American and African coasts, in the Red sea, Indian ocean, and even around Japan. Peculiar to the American coast is the white-tailed remora (E. alui-cauda, Mitch.); it is from 1 to 2 ft. long, grayish slate above, with dark band on sides; the disk has 21 plates; it is not uncommon on the southern shore of Massachusetts and in Long Island sound, where it is generally called shark sucker.

None of the species feed upon the fish to which they are attached, their food being small fishes and floating animals. (See Lump Fisn).

Mediterranean Sucking Fish (Echeneis remora).

Mediterranean Sucking Fish (Echeneis remora).