Creature Feature: Garibaldi

Garibaldi noaa

Photographer: Claire Fackler, CINMS, NOAA.

The California State Flower is the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica). The California State Mammal is the Grizzly Bear. From a young age we learn about California History. I remember having to write what our state flower, bird, and mammal is in school. So let’s delve into more of California’s state life by looking at the California State Marine Fish, the Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus).

The Garibaldi is bright orange; juveniles have a beautiful blue sparkling color. You will find this fish only off of the California Coast from Monterey Bay to southern Baja California. You would think that because this fish is beautiful and bright it would be great to keep in an aquarium, but because it is the California State Marine Fish it is illegal to collect and keep without a permit.

These fish are highly territorial and will nip at and make noises at other fish that get in their rocky space. The open water is their hang out joint so territory is not an issue. Back to their home: the males like to tidy up and will nip away other organisms in the space to make it presentable to the females. The male will then put on a show and do a little dance and make some music to attract the female.

The female is very, very picky on the male she chooses. She will venture into many males homes to see what she wants. Well, what she wants is a male who already has new eggs established in their nest from another female. This shows her that it is a nice, safe home for her babies to hatch.  Once the female finds the perfect suitor she will lay her eggs. The male will then chase her away. If the eggs in a males nest are too old he will eat them to make space for young fresh eggs. Within two weeks the eggs hatch and now you have young Garibaldi.


Edited by Matthew Usedom

NOAA Photo Library


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