New Publication out on Remoras!
Hot off the press: a new collaborative publication led by Chris Kenaley on remoras just became public this week! Remoras are a fascinating family of fishes, as they have a modified dorsal fin that acts as a suction disk, allowing them to attach to other fishes, turtles, or marine mammals. These hitchhiking fishes are also sometimes called suckerfishes due to this adaptation, and in this study we took a variety of approaches to understand the most that we could about how this behavior evolved. This included determining the relationships of the eight remora species, using microCT scans to get extremely detailed resolution of the suction disk, examining what animals all of the remora species were attaching to, and then finally figuring out how minute differences in the hosts effected how remoras could attach to them. Overall we recovered two main groups of remoras: a group of species commonly seen around reefs and those that are more pelagic. These groups of species differ in the number and type of host species that they hitchhike on, and finally these host differences seem to be associated with skin roughness and the hydrodynamic regime of the host, and the ability of the suction disk to adhere to that particular skin. If you'd like to read the specifics, the publication is out in Integrative Organismal Biology, an open source journal so anyone can read it for free!