• Scenic View from Inspiration Point, Anacapa Island ©timhaufphotography.com

    Channel Islands

    National Park California

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Kathy de-Wet Oleson

Common Name

Scientific Name
Hypsypops rubicundus

Conservation Status
The Garibaldi is the California State fish and is protected from fishing.

These fish mainly live in the kelp forest ecosystem.

Additional Information
This species of damselfish inhabits the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean from Monterey Bay, California to Baja California along rocky coastal reefs and among kelp forests. They are especially common to the more southern Channel Islands. Easily distinguishable by their vibrant orange color, adult fish may reach up to 17 inches. Juvenile garibaldi fish are yellow-orange with iridescent blue spots and do not mature until five or six years old and eight inches long. They feed on various invertebrates.

Adult male garibaldi carefully constructs circular nest sites about one foot in diameter in shallow reef habitats. They weed out all organisms except for red algae. The more well-prepared and maintained the nests are, the more likely a female will choose that nest to deposit her eggs for fertilization by the hosting male. Once the eggs are fertilized, the male continues to guard the nest often warning divers of their close proximity with a loud thumping noise.

Did You Know?

1994 pygmy mammoth excavation, Santa Rosa Island

The world's most complete pygmy mammoth specimen was discovered on Santa Rosa Island in 1994. These miniature mammoths, only four to six feet tall, once roamed island grasslands and forests during the Pleistocene.