Hypsypops rubicundus

Habitat: Typically found on rocky reefs and kelp beds.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 14 inches long.

Natural history: The Garibaldi is a member of the damsel fish family. They are very common and are seen on most shallow dives. Juveniles are covered with bright blue spots. The Garibaldi is the only marine fish in California completely protected by law. Damsel fish are highly territorial and the Garibaldi is no exception. In the spring (from March-July), it is the male who builds a nest on the reef. He cleans away all growth except for small kinds of red algae. He neatly trims it into a circle about 18 inches in diameter. He will defend this nest against all intruders. When a female swims by he tries to entice her to lay eggs in his nest by making loud clicking noises and dashing toward the nest. If she likes the nest she will lay her eggs there and swim away. The male fertilizes the eggs and spends at least two or three weeks watching over the nest until the young have hatched. He will remove sea urchins from the nest since they might eat the eggs or red algae. Garibaldi feed on sponges, worms and crabs. A 6-inch Garibaldi is 3 years old, and a 12-inch Garibaldi is at least 10 years old.

Range: from Magdalena Bay, Baja, California, to Monterey Bay, California.

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