Hamlet (fish)

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Butter hamlet fish (uncut).jpg
Hypoplectrus unicolor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Serranidae
Genus: Hypoplectrus
T. N. Gill, 1861

A hamlet is a fish of the genus Hypoplectrus that is found mainly in coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, particularly around Florida and the Bahamas. They are a popular choice for hobbyist saltwater aquariums, and come in a variety of colors.


There are currently 17 recognized species in this genus:


Hamlets are simultaneous hermaphrodites (or synchronous hermaphrodites): They have both male and female sexual organs at the same time as an adult, meaning that they function as a male and female, making them one of the few vertebrates that are male and female at the same time. They seem quite at ease mating in front of divers, allowing observations in the wild to occur readily. They do not practice self-fertilization, but when they find a mate, the pair takes turns between which one acts as the male and which acts as the female through multiple matings, usually over the course of several nights. Hamlets preferentially mate with individuals of their same color pattern.[2]


  1. ^ Tavera, J. & Acero P., A. (2013): Description of a new species of Hypoplectrus (Perciformes: Serranidae) from the Southern Gulf of Mexico. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, 19 (1): 29-38.
  2. ^ Bernal, M.A.; Rocha, L.A. (2012). "Speciation with Gene Flow in Coral Reef Fishes". In: Steller. D., Lobel. L., eds. Diving for Science 2012. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, 31st Symposium.