Fairy basslet. Source: ''Reef Fish Identification'', New World Publications © 1994
Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Fairy basslets range from four to eight centimeters in length. Their fronts are bright purple, and their rears are yellow. They have a number of streaks passing through the eyes and a black spot on their dorsal fin.
This species is found in the central Western Atlantic from southern Florida, USA to northern South America as well as in Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean Sea. They are not reported in the Gulf of Mexico.
G. loreto lives in colonies in which each individual defends a territory that contains their safe hiding spot from members of their own species and from other species such as masked gobies and threespot damselfish.
They like to orient themselves with their belly to the substrate, so they are otfen observed swimming upside down on ceilings of caves or the bottom side of overhangs.
Adult G. loreto males establish nest sites prior to spawning activity, using small holes and crevices in the substratum. They employ algae which they cut from the substrate to line the nests and to conceal the nest opening. Females travel to these nest sites created by the males for egg deposition at the first appearance of morning sunlight penetrating into the epipelagic zone. Females deposit eggs, that are negatively bouyant and about on millimeter in size to form a multilayer egg mass. Males guard and care for the eggs with various types of nest care behavior: nest guarding, nest maintenance, detritus clearing in and around nests, and simple periodic nest inspection entering. Eggs hatch after ten or eleven days, and then the larvae are believed to proceed to the planktonic stage until they are sufficiently heavy to resettle on the reef.
The fairy basslet is not deemed to be a taxon at risk.
References and Further Reading
- K.Asoh and D.Shapiro 1997 Bisexual juvenile gonad and gonochorism in the fairy basslet, Gramma loreto. Copeia (1):22-31
- Encyclopedia of Life. Species Curator: C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Gramma loreto Poey, 1868
- P.Humann and N.Deloach (Editor) 1994. Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348078
- N.Deloach. 1999. Reef Fish Behavior, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348280