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Species: Gramma melacara, Blackcap Basslet

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purple + black cap atop head

Gramma melacara Bohlke & Randall, 1963

Blackcap Basslet

Elongate, compressed body; eye large, snout short; mouth at front; teeth on jaws, and front and sides of roof of mouth; preopercle serrated; opercle with 2 short, flat spines; gill rakers long, 15-35; dorsal fin XIII-XIV, 8-9; anal fin III, 6-10; pectorals rounded, 16-18; pelvics I, 5, with 1st ray elongated, sometimes reaching past anal fin base; tail fin strongly concave; short rays on upper and lower base of tail fin not thick and spiny; lateral line in two parts, upper part ending under end of dorsal fin base, lower part on tail base.

Head and body bluey-purple; a black cap with an oblique lower edge covers snout, nape and front of back, and onto front part of dorsal fin and along its outer edge; sometimes 2-3 gold lines run back from eye; upper and lower edges of tail fin sometimes with black lines.

Reaches 11 cm.

Lives on reefs.

Depth range: 15-180 m.

The Bahamas to the S Caribbean.

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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
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 11
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 180