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Species: Hypoplectrus aberrans, Yellowbelly Hamlet

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snout +/- tiny spots
dark blue-brown above, yellow below
D = back color

Hypoplectrus aberrans Poey, 1868

Yellowbelly Hamlet

Head and body deep, strongly compressed; forehead straight; snout relatively short; top jaw protrusible; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without accessory bone above it; teeth fixed; preoperculum angular, serrated, several small forward pointing spines on lower edge near the corner; gill rakers 17-23; dorsal fin X, 14-17, no notch after spines, membranes between spines not indented; pelvics long, reach to or beyond anus; tail fin slightly forked; lateral line scales 48-53; soft dorsal and anal fins mostly scaleless.

Upper head, back and spiny dorsal dark blue-brown to grey-brown, rest of fins and body yellow, the position of junction between brown and yellow on body varies, and sometimes the entire dorsal fin is dark grey; irregular blue spots and thin bars on head; sometimes a large dark spot on the side of the snout; sometimes a black blotch on upper tail base; occasionally dark stripes along the top and bottom edges of the tail fin.

Reaches 12.3 cm.

Lives on reefs.

Depth range: 3-15 m.

Bahamas to the Caribbean.

Note: Here H. maculiferus is regarded as a synonym of H. aberrans. In their original descriptions by Poey (H. aberrans was described first, so that name has priority) both have a blackish blotch on the side of the nose and another one on the base of the tail. Randall, in his 1996 3rd edition of Caribbean Reef Fishes, stated that H. aberrans sometimes has one or both those dark blotches. Hence there is no reason to treat them as separate species, with H. aberrans lacking the two blotches that are present only in H. maculiferus.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 12.3
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 15