Black Cap Basslet Identification

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The black cap basslet is a deep water fish that is rarely seen in waters shallower than 60 feet. Get tips on identifying the black cap basslet, a violet fish that has a black patch across its eyes, with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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Video Transcript

The marine creature we're going to identify now is the blackcap basslet. The blackcap basslet is a deep water fish across most of its range. It generally lives on deep water walls rarely seen in waters shallower than 60 feet. And they are generally more abundant the deeper one goes on the wall. They stay close to the wall and to their favorite hiding hole into which they will dash if they feel threatened. But they usually don't stay hidden for very long. They can also frequently be seen inside the openings of caves or under ledges where they swim upside down with their bellies oriented to the top underside of the ledge or the top of the cave. Although solitary animals, they are often found in close proximity to one another. Blackcap basslets are a small fish generally two to three and a half inches in length with a maximum size of four inches. They're bright violet or purple with a black patch that runs from it's lip across it's eyes to the forward part of the dorsal fin. Their dorsal fin runs nearly the entire length of it's body and has a flowing appearance. Since they live in deeper depths of the ocean, their eyes are large relative to the size of their body to compensate for their lowlight natural habitat. Blackcap basslets are common in some parts of the Caribbean. They are most common in the northwestern Caribbean and the souther Caribbean. They are relatively uncommon in the Bahamas and throughout the central area of the Caribbean. They have not been reported in the tropical waters around Florida. In the southern Caribbean, they can be found on shallower reefs compare to their preferred habitat in the northern areas. Blackcap basslets are carnivores and feed primarily on zooplankton they catch drifting along their deep water habitat. Blackcap basslets exists as separate male and females but it's impossible to visually distinguish the sexes however they obviously have no problem with this issue. The males build a nest of algae and plant bits. The female lays eggs on the nest and then the male swims over the eggs to fertilize them. Both parents then guard the eggs until they hatch. That's the blackcap basslet.


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