- Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott 1991 World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. (21):243 p. (Ref. 4537)
- Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray 1986 A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p. (Ref. 7251)
Catalog Number: USNM 199486
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): W. Starck & H. Feddern
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Bahamas: Little Bahama Bank; Grande Bahama Island, Edge of Drop-Off Off Settlement Point, Grand Bahama Island, Bahama Islands, Bahamas, Bahamian Archipelago, Atlantic
- Paratype: Bohlke, J. E. & Randall, J. E. 1963. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 115 (2): 43.
- Baensch, H.A. and H. Debelius 1997 Meerwasser atlas. Mergus Verlag GmbH, Postfach 86, 49302, Melle, Germany. 1216 p. 3rd edition. (Ref. 27115)
- Victor, B.C. and J.E. Randall 2010 Gramma dejongi, a new basslet (Perciformes: Grammatidae) from Cuba, a sympatric sibling species of G. loreto. Zoological Studies 49(6):865-871. (Ref. 85755)
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.
Depth range (m): 1 - 34
Temperature range (°C): 26.770 - 26.770
Nitrate (umol/L): 0.691 - 0.691
Salinity (PPS): 36.481 - 36.481
Oxygen (ml/l): 4.602 - 4.602
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.051 - 0.051
Silicate (umol/l): 2.028 - 2.028
Depth range (m): 1 - 34
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
From 11 to 60 meters.
Habitat: reef-associated. Occurs on nearly vertical cliffs and drop-offs beyond outer reefs. Often upside-down. Retreats into recesses when alarmed (Ref. 9710).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Gramma melacara
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Gramma melacara
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Gramma melacara, the blackcap basslet, is a species of basslet inhabiting reefs in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean. This species prefers vertical surfaces with crevices in which it can hide. It can be found at depths of from 10 to 180 metres (33 to 591 ft) (usually between 20 and 60 metres (66 and 197 ft)). This species can also be found in the aquarium trade.
A small fish, reaching a length of 10 centimetres (3.9 in) TL, it is purple with a diagonal black cap on its head.
In the aquarium
This hardy fish is typically peaceful and can be kept in a reef aquarium. Care should be taken however to only add one fish to an aquarium as they are territorial and do not accept other members of the same, or similar looking, species in the same aquarium. Small shrimp also may get eaten by this fish. Because this fish likes to hide, they should only be kept in an aquarium with large amounts of live rock. When these fish are frightened they hide in the rocks.
This fish can be kept in an aquarium that is 30 gallons or larger. If it is desired to keep more than one in an aquarium a tank that is at least 6 feet in length should be used and they should be added at the same time. The largest scientifcially measured Blackcap Gramma was 10.0 cm / 3.9 inches. The body colour varies from magenta to purple and there is a jet-black diagonal cap running from the lip to the foredorsal fin. It is not advisable to house the Blackcap Gramma in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons / 115 litres. Include a lot of rocks, crevices and caves in the set up. Since this species is commonly found in deep waters, it is best to avoid sharp aquarium lights. The Blackcap Gramma is considered reef compatible and is commonly kept in reef aquariums. You should however keep in mind that it might devour really small invertebrates, such as copepods, amphipods and isopods. The Blackcap Gramma can start acting territorially towards other basslets, including members of its own species, once it has settled in an aquarium. The recommended water temperature for Blackcap Gramma is 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C. Keep the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025 and the pH-value between 8.1 and 8.4. The Blackcap Gramma is a carnivore species that needs to be kept on a meaty diet in the aquarium. It will normally accept dead food without much ado and you can for instance feed it mysid shrimp, fish flesh, crustacean flesh, and mixed frozen preparations suitable for marine carnivores. It may also eat devour really small invertebrates that lives in the aquarium, such as copepods, amphipods and isopods.
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