What is the symbiotic relationship between Sharks and Remora fish?

We all have some kind of interaction with many people, who lived in our surroundings, either at home, in our neighbourhood or we met them at work places. In a similar way, animals in the oceans also have interactions or may develop some sort of relationships with other species as well. Usually animals have relationships that benefit both the species but not in all the cases. Now the question arises here is that do sharks have any social interaction with other species? What relation do sharks share with remora fish? Some people describe it as a mutualistic relation while others depicted it as a commensalism. To answer such questions, let’s find out in this article about what relationship do sharks have with remoras?

Sharks and their friendships

Symbiosis is a term used to describe the relationships between different species, whether both species get benefits or any one of them takes the advantage of it. Sometimes the symbiotic relationships form between the unexpected species, just like the relation between sharks and remora fish. Due to the reputation of sharks, it is quite unbelievable that sharks seek any interaction with other species. Believe me! Sharks share mutualistic relationships with remora fish which means both the species get benefitted.

Mutualism – A benefitted relation

The term mutualism covers the relationship among two species and receives equal benefits from the relation.. One of the best examples of this interaction in the ocean waters is the relationship between sharks and remora fish.

Shark and Remora fish – Do they really have a distinctive relationship?

The remora is a tiny fish that grows between 1 to 3 feet in length, their dorsal fins developed with the passage of time into a small cup shaped organ located at the top of their head. This cup shaped sucking mouth helps them to attach with the passing shark, usually on the underside of the sharks, so that they can take a safe and swim along with the sharks without wasting any energy.

What benefits do they both have from the relationship?

Remora fish attach itself to the belly of sharks for the purpose of locomotion and food, however, this attachment does not harm the sharks at all.  Remora first eats the leftovers of the prey which are dropped by the sharks; it also feeds on the parasites present on the skin and mouth of the sharks. This makes sharks joyful because sharks may get irritated or harmed by the presence of parasites. In return, the sharks protect the remora fish from the predators, provide them with enough food and give them free travelling accommodation in the ocean.

Do both species are understandable?

According to various studies, sharks, as one of the most intelligent ocean species, understand the benefits of this mutualistic relationship with remora species. It has been observed that sharks suddenly changed its behaviour towards remora as it usually tends to slow down when remora fish are present in its vicinity, without being worried about their survival and allow remora fish to attach with them.

Are other species jealous of this relationship?

As many people may appreciate one’s relation and others feel jealous, similar trends were followed in the animals as well. The beneficial relationship between sharks and remoras was appreciated by many other sharks’ species, but hated by some species as well. According to the reported views, it has been observed that Sandbar and Lemon sharks behave extremely aggressively towards sharks and remoras interaction, they behave so violently that even they eat the remoras. Despite all this negativity, the bond between sharks and remoras had never changed and is one most unwavering relation in the ocean, and is likely to stay the same for the upcoming millions years.

Final words

Sharks and remoras share the mutualistic relationship which benefits both the species, as sharks provide remoras with food and transportation while remoras in return keep the sharks clean by eating all the parasites present on the shark’s skin or in the surrounding water. Hope this data would be helpful for you to figure out the type of relation between sharks and remora fish, if you are still confused, you can meet them personally.