We have a two-for-one for you this month! Meet our November 2021 Fishes of the Month, the Fairy Basslet (Gramma loreto) and the Golden Fairy Basslet (Gramma dejongi)!
Survey Regions: The Fairy Basslet and Golden Fairy Basslet are both found in REEF's Tropical Western Atlantic (TWA) survey region. The Fairy Basslet is common throughout most areas of the Caribbean, while the Golden Fairy Basslet is very rarely seen. So far, this species is known only from the Gardens of the Queen marine park in Cuba, although a vagrant has also been seen in the Cayman Islands. Click here to view the TWA sightings report for each species: Fairy Basslet and Golden Fairy Basslet
Size: Fairy Basslets grow up to 3 inches, while the Golden Fairy Basslet is slightly smaller, growing up to 2 inches.
Identifying Features: Both species have elongated bodies and long, flowing ventral fins. Fairy Basslets are bicolored, with purple and magenta coloring on the front half and yellow on the back, plus a dark spot on the dorsal fin. Golden Fairy Basslets have a solid yellow body, purple ventral fins, and a purple spot on the dorsal fin.
Fun Facts: As members of the Basslet family, both species inhabit recesses and crevices on reefs. The Fairy Basslet can be found in shallow waters, and on slopes and walls. Fairy Basslet often swim "upside down" with their belly oriented to the ceilings of caves or ledges, while the Golden Fairy Basslet is not known to exhibit this behavior and tends to prefer depths of 60 feet or more.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month.
Photos by Janna Nichols and Christy Semmens.