Garibaldi (fish)

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Hypsypops rubicundus adult.jpg
Hypsypops rubicundus
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacentridae
Genus: Hypsypops
Species: H. rubicundus
Binomial name
Hypsypops rubicundus
(Girard, 1854)
This is an article about the fish. For other uses see the disambiguation page.

The Garibaldi or Garibaldi damselfish, scientific name Hypsypops rubicundus, is a large, bright orange fish in the damselfish family. This fish species is native to the North-Eastern subtropical parts of the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Monterey Bay, California, to Guadalupe Island, Baja California. The common name is a reference to the Italian military and political figure Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose followers often wore a characteristic scarlet or red shirt.


This is the official marine state fish of California and is protected in Californian coastal waters. It is frequently seen off Santa Catalina Island, California and in La Jolla Cove (San Diego), where it is locally very common. It is also the mascot of the Georgia Aquarium.


Adult fish are a rich orange in color. Juveniles are more reddish, and have many small iridescent blue spots which they lose as they become adult. Adult Garibaldis tend to have a more opaque tail and dorsal fin.

Garibaldis grow up to 38 cm (15 in) in length. They are found in water from a few feet depth up to 30 meters (100 ft) depth, usually in association with reefs, and typically over rocky sea-bottoms. They feed mainly on invertebrates, which they remove from the rocks.


Like most damselfish, adult Garibaldis maintain a home territory. The male clears a sheltered nest site within his territory, and the female then deposits eggs within the nest. The male subsequently guards the nest until the eggs hatch after 19–21 days. During this time period, the male Garibaldi aggressively tries to keep all other fish away from the very edible eggs and will boldly attack much larger swimming creatures, including humans, to the point of biting divers in order to try to drive them away from the area where the eggs are deposited.