The Garibaldi or Garibaldi damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus) is a species of bright orange fish in the damselfish family. Garibaldis occur in the subtropical northeastern part of the Pacific Ocean. 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. As is the case in all damselfish, male Garibaldis aggressively defend the nest site after the female lays eggs.
Adult fish in this species are orange in color. They are the largest member of the damselfish family and can grow up to 38 cm (15 in) in length. Juveniles are more reddish, and have many small iridescent blue spots, which they lose as they become adult. Adult Garibaldis also have a more opaque tail and dorsal fin.
Distribution and habitat
Garibaldis are found in water from a depth of up to 30 metres (98 ft) depth, usually in association with rock reefs, and typically over rocky sea-bottoms. This species is native to the north-eastern subtropical parts of the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Monterey Bay, California, to Guadalupe Island, Baja California.
Garibaldis 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; the female then deposits eggs within the nest. The male guards the nest area until the eggs hatch, which takes 19–21 days. During the time period that the eggs are developing, 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.
The Garibaldi 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.
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