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(This is about a FICTIONAL FISH - I MADE UP THE FISH. To my knowledge, this concept is not based on any real principles or precedents.)

Now, this fish has a strong capability for suction, and very little in the way of offensive capabilites. As such, I had the idea that a swarm of these fish could use their suction to attach themselves to the gills of predators (i.e. sort of 'stapling' themselves to the space around the gill using suction, although I can include gripping teeth if necessary), thereby starving the predator of oxygen and either

My fish is about 25cm/10 inches long. It is based on the extinct Sacabambaspis (see picture below), and I imagine the small mouth would make effective suction easier.

source: https://www.athenapub.com/aria1/PAL/sacabambaspis1.html

Is this realistic or possible?

Sorry if this doesn't fit Biology Stack Exchange, I can put it up on Worldbuilding SE if it's not suited. I couldn't find anything about made up creatures in the rules.

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    $\begingroup$ Since you're not asking about something in the world, perhaps your fictional creature might find a better home on Worldbuilding as you suggest. We don't do hypotheticals so much here. $\endgroup$ Feb 22 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ If you look at the “rules” they exclude questions that can only be answered by opinions, rather than facts. Indeed this is one option in the close vote form, which you will probably be unaware of. It should, however be obvious from the examples in the Tour. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Feb 22 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Surely a hypothetical question can have a definitive, non-opinion answer (not sure if this one does, though). $\endgroup$
    – BigMistake
    Feb 22 at 20:04

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I will give you some ideas to think about. I think your hypothetical is plausible enough.

  • Most fish gills are protected by an operculum (bony gill cover). This might make attaching directly to the gill filaments difficult.
  • If they rely solely on suction, the water flow could dislodge them, especially if the fish can thrash. Tooth-like structures may be a good idea.

The question asks if this is realistic or possible. I think so. I see no obvious reasons why this would be impossible. Though, in reality, the prey of these suction fish would eventually evolve defense mechanisms.

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