Cabrillo Marine Aquarium


Hypsypops rubicundus


Fun Facts

    Garibaldi is the California State marine fish.

    The garibaldi may live as long as 12 years.



  The Garibaldi, a damselfish, is one of the most colorful fish in Southern California waters.  A spectacular bright orange, it is easily visible as it "sculls" in and around the holes and crevices of the kelp forest floor where it is usually found. It is in an almost constant state of activity as it defends its territory against potential "land grabbers" or as it searches for the small, sessile sponges and bryozoans that make up a good portion of its diet.
During the springtime, the activity level climbs even higher as the male begins the all-important task of nest building. Carefully, he clears everything but the most stubborn calcareous material and a small, elliptical patch of red algae. Once the nest is completed, the amorous male begins searching for one or more females. Rushing about his territory, he charges and challenges any of his kind. Challenges consist of loud, thumping noises made by the grinding together of teeth far back in his throat called pharyngeal teeth. Eventually, a female will dart past him as he charges her and will hover above the nest. In an increasingly high state of excitement, he will join her to fertilize the 15,000 - 80,000 eggs she lays. Her job is done and he drives her off to guard the nest during the two to three week period it takes the yellowish, capsule-like eggs to develop.