Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Hanging out with sharks

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Nurse shark and remoras (Ginglymostoma cirratum, Remora brachyptera)

Remoras, also called sucker fish, are often seen with many species of sharks. They swim near the shark or catch a ride as they attach themselves to the shark’s body. They feed on the leftovers of the meals and on ectoparasites on the skin of their hosts.

But there are more fish that love sharks… Striped pilot fish (Naucrates ductor) follow sharksrays, and sea turtles. As they are known to follow ships, even for longer periods of time, it was believed that would navigate the vessel to its desired course.

A whale shark with several species of pilot fish

A whale shark (Rincocon typus) with several species of pilot fish

 

Another follower of large animals, sometimes divers as well, is the  Gold Trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus). They tend to stay closer to shore. In the Gulf of Tadjoura (Djibouti). Researchers found that a whale shark with small golden trevallies arrived in the Gulf after travelling along the fringe reefs, and individuals with striped pilot fish came in from open water.

 

With golden trevallies: these fish indicate the shark has come here travelling along reefs

With golden trevallies: these fish indicate the shark has come here travelling along reefs

 

With black-striped pilot fish, an indication that the shark has come here through open water

With black-striped pilot fish, an indication that the shark has come here through open water

 

And remoras are even used as ‘fishing guides’: a remora is caught, tied to a line and released again. It will start looking for a fish to use as a host. Then, the remora and its host are hauled into the boat! 

 

 

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