Creature Feature: Garibaldi Fish

Common Facts:

Scientific Name – Hypsypops rubicundus

Diet – Sponges, coelenterates, bryozoa, worms

Size – up to 14 inches long

Habitat – Kelp forest

Range – Monterey Bay to southern Baja California

This bright red-orange fish was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian general known to wear bright-red shirts. He was also known for his fight to reunify Italy and became a national hero for it. The name is fitting for the Garibaldi fish, also known for their fighting prowess.

The Garibaldi fish can be found from Baja California all the way to Monterey Bay, but they are much more common in the warmer waters of the south. They are California’s state marine fish and it is illegal to collect them without a permit.

The male Garibaldis are the ones that raise the family. All males choose a small territory to settle in (for the rest of their lives), keep it tidy, guard it from all other males and predators and try to attract females to come and lay eggs on their nest. Once they get a few females to lay eggs, the male fertilizes the eggs and guards them until they hatch.

So the next time you are near the California coastline, keep an eye out for these bright orange beauties. Just don’t go too close – they are known to bite anybody or anything that intrudes on their territory!



Written by: Kari Shirley, BYU intern


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