Echeneis naucrates Linnaeus, 1758

Echeneis naucrates is often seen attached to various sharks as well as to Mantas and some of the larger stingrays. They can also, however, often be seen swimming freely and may approach divers looking for a place to attach. They can also be a bit aggressive. I have seen several divers bitten by sharksuckers, although the teeth are small enough that they usually just leave scratches. In one case, I had one grab the hair just above my forehead and shake vigorously; it was startling to say the least.

A close shot of the sucking disk on the top of the head.

Sometimes a small group can be seen swimming together.

A small one on a gray reef shark.

They are commonly on the large stingray, Himantura fai.

Rarely they may attach to other fish as well. The small one below was on the side of a rabbitfish in Bali, Indonesia.

Created 26 December 2017

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