Knowing when to stick: Touch receptors found in the remora adhesive disc

Karly E. Cohen, Brooke E. Flammang, Callie H. Crawford, L. Patricia Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Remoras are fishes that piggyback onto larger marine fauna via an adhesive disc to increase locomotor efficiency, likelihood of finding mates and access to prey. Attaching rapidly to a large, fast-moving host is no easy task, and while research to date has focused on how the disc supports adhesion, no attention has been paid to how or if remoras are able to sense attachment. We identified push-rod-like mechanoreceptor complexes embedded in the soft lip of the remora adhesive disc that are known in other organisms to respond to touch and shear forces. This is, to our knowledge, the first time such mechanoreceptor complexes are described in fishes as they were only known previously in monotremes. The presence of push-rod-like mechanoreceptor complexes suggests not only that fishes may be able to sense their environment in ways not heretofore described but that specialized tactile mechanoreceptor complexes may be a more basal vertebrate feature than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number190990
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Adhesive disc
  • Attachment
  • Mechanoreceptor
  • Remora
  • Touch


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