Bladefin Basslet

Jeboehlkia gladifer

Last updated: April 25, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

The tiny bladefin basslet belongs to the same subfamily as the giant grouper, Epinephelinae.


Bladefin Basslet Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Jeboehlkia gladifer

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Bladefin Basslet Conservation Status

Bladefin Basslet Locations

Bladefin Basslet Locations

Bladefin Basslet Facts

Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
The tiny bladefin basslet belongs to the same subfamily as the giant grouper, Epinephelinae.
Estimated Population Size
Biggest Threat
Pet trade
Most Distinctive Feature
The blade-like spine in the dorsal fin.
Other Name(s)
Bladefin bass
Optimum pH Level
8.1 to 8.4
Western Atlantic Ocean
Common Name
Bladefin Basslet
Number Of Species

Bladefin Basslet Physical Characteristics

  • Red
  • White
  • Pink
Skin Type
Two to four years
1.5 to 3.1 inches

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The little bladefin basslet may remind you of a round-tail guppy, and they do have many things in common.

They can both thrive in reefs, live in salt water, and enjoy live food. Unlike the guppy, which has its origins in South America and is now found just about everywhere, the bladefin basslet is found in the western Atlantic Ocean at prohibitive depths. You can buy your average guppy for a few cents, but the bladefin basslet can set you back as much as $10,000, for one! Read on for more information about this fascinating fish.

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Four Amazing Facts About the Bladefin Basslet!

  • The bladefin basslet is the only member of its genus, Jeboehlkia.
  • It lives in saltwater reefs at depths of over 490 feet.
  • The fish is aggressive and shouldn’t be kept with conspecifics if conspecifics can even be found or even fish that resemble it.
  • The fish is a relatively recent discovery, as it was first described in 1967.

Bladefin Basslet Classification and Scientific name

The scientific name of the bladefin basslet is Jeboehlkia gladifer. Jeboehlkia comes from James Erwin Böhlke, an American ichthyologist, and gladifer is a Latin word for “sword-bearing.” This specific name references the spine in the fish’s dorsal fin. There are no subspecies.

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Bladefin Basslet Appearance

The bladefin basslet is a tiny fish that grows no longer than 3 inches. It is a bit torpedo-shaped, with a compressed body. The color is white, pink, or reddish, and the top of the head and the back of the neck are red. There’s also a white band that runs down the head. The fish’s anal and dorsal fins are edged with white, and it has white pelvic fins.

It has a large eye with a bright red iris and a large mouth. The lower jaw is superior, and the snout is pointed. There are three spines on the lower edge of the bone in the gill cover that is found behind the fish’s eye, and eight spines and nine soft rays in the fish’s dorsal fin. The second one is very long and gives the fish its specific name of gladifer. The tail fin is round and red with a white edge.

Bladefin Basslet Distribution, Population, and Habitat

The bladefin basslet is found in the western Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean up through the waters off of South Carolina. One specimen was found nearly 1000 feet off the coast of New York. The reason that the fish is so expensive is that it is found very deep in the ocean, which makes it difficult to collect. Indeed, even if it is collected the fish sometimes dies as it is brought up from the depths.

Bladefin Basslet Predators and Prey

Not much is known about Jeboehlkia gladifer’s predators, but it is known to eat the tiny animals that make up plankton. In captivity, the fish does best with live food, including brine and Mysis shrimp and artemia supplemented with flakes or pellets.

Health and Entertainment for your Bladefin Basslet

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Bladefin Basslet Reproduction and Lifespan

Scientists don’t know much about the bladefin basslet’s reproduction, though pelagic larvae have been found. If it is like its relatives, it lays eggs that are externally fertilized, and these eggs become part of the plankton. The fish is believed to have a lifespan of between two and four years.

Bladefin Basslet in Fishing and Cooking

Even if the bladefin basslet didn’t cost thousands of dollars to even buy, it is too small to be used in cooking. As for fishing, it is only sought for the pet trade.

Bladefin Basslet Population

Scientists aren’t sure of the bladefin basslet’s population, but its conservation status is least concern.

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Bladefin Basslet FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a bladefin basslet?

The bladefin basslet is a small and beautiful fish that is related to groupers. It is one of the most expensive aquarium fish in the world because it is both attractive and hard to catch, as it routinely lives at depths of over 490 feet.

Where are bladefin basslets found? 

They are found deep in western Atlantic ocean reefs from the Caribbean to just off the coast of South Carolina and as far north as New York.

How much do bladefin basslet fish cost?

The price of one of these fish can be as much as $10,000.

How big do bladefin basslet get?

Bladefin basslets rarely grow to over 3 inches, and most are smaller than this.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. Fishkeeping Wisdom, Available here:
  2. News9, Available here:
  3. Wikipedia, Available here:
  4. Fishes of the Western Atlantic, Available here:
  5. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Available here:
  6. Advanced Aquatic Ecosystems, Available here:

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