Fairy Basslet (Gramma loreto)


Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family:    Grammidae
Size:    Length: 1.5 to 3.1 inches (3.8 to 8 cm)
Weight: Approximately 1 ounce (28 g)
Diet: Plankton, tiny marine animals and fish
Distribution: Bermuda to the Bahamas, south to West Indies and Venezuela
Young:  Several thousand eggs per season
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Fry
Lifespan: Up to 7 years in captivity



·         The fairy basslet is also known as the “royal gramma.” 

·         The fairy basslet is one of the smallest fish living amongst tropical coral reefs.

·         They have no defense against predators other than their large numbers. 



Fairy basslets are tropical members of the sea bass family. They have a variety of colours and patterns and the males have brighter colours than the females. They are coloured combinations of magenta, purple and yellow. 



Fairy basslets are common in tropical coral reefs from Bermuda to the Bahamas, and south to the West Indies and off the coast of Venezuala. They live in nests they have crafted themselves out of coral, by choosing a cave or overhang, then using algae, sea urchin spines and sponge to further enclose the nest, leaving only a small opening, wide enough to pass through. The male guards the nest from intruders and keeps the opening free from obstruction.


Feeding Habits

Fairy basslets eat mostly plankton, but also catch small marine animals and fish. They have relatively large mouths that enable them to do so. 



All fairy basslets are born females. After mating and producing eggs for several seasons, some fairy basslets change their sex and become male. They are, from then on, male for life and cannot change back again. The change has to do not only with age, but when a lack of males occurs. A dominant female then begins to act like a male and turns into one in several days. Females lay eggs that form a sticky mass and cling to the side or top of the nest until they are hatched.  



Fairy basslets gather in groups of up to a dozen, consisting of one male and multiple females. They can be found in and around large coral reefs, as well as ledges and caves. They sleep within a cave or under rocks. They are generally peaceful and non-aggressive fish. 



Fairy basslets are not a conservation concern at this time. 













Fairy Basslet Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US

Reef Fish Identification, Paul Humann, New World Publications, Inc. 1989