Gramma melacara

Common Name

Blackcap Basslet

Year Described

Böhlke & Randall, 1963


Dorsal Fin: XIII-XIV, 8-9
Anal Fin: III, 10
Pectoral Fin: 16-18
Caudal Fin: 12-15 branched, 19-22 segmented
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 18 caudal; 28 total
Gill Rakers: 19-23 in lower limb

Elongate with large eye. Pelvic fin rather short, barely reaches anal fin orgin. Lateral line with two parts: the anterior portion on upper body and ending at last dorsal ray and the posterior portion on middle of caudal peduncle reaching anteriorly to middle of soft dorsal. Preopercle serrated. Procurrent caudal rays not thickened. Caudal fin lunate.


Bright magenta, often becoming dark bluish-purple on the dorsal surface posteriorly. A black "cap" with golden spots present from the snout, through the eye, passing onto the dorsal fin, and finishing as a submarginal dorsal stripe. Two golden stripes often run from eye to opercle. Fins usually bright bluish-purple to magenta. Anal fin with dark submarginal stripe. Pelvic fins with dark anterior margin. Upper and lower caudal lobes dark to body-colored.


Maximum size to 10cm.


Coral reefs and drop-offs from 10-180m (usually 20-60m). Usually found deeper than G. loreto. Often found in caves swimming upside down. Solitary.


Caribbean Sea from the Bahamas to S. America


Hardy, J.D. 2005. Chapter 121: Grammatidae, p. 1341-1351. In: Richards, W.J. (Ed.). Early Stages of Atlantic Fishes: An Identification Guide for the Western Central North Atlantic. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Mooi, R.D. 2002. Grammatidae. In: FAO Species Identification Guide to Fishes of the Western Atlantic. (ed. Carpenter K), pp. 1308–1369. UN FAO Publishers, Rome.