Latin name

Hypsypops rubicundus

Other names

–°atalina goldfish, marine goldfish, garibaldi damselfish.


They have a tall body, flattened at the sides. The head is small. The mouth is small with fleshy lips. The body is not so tall in young individuals.

The species is named after the Italian freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) for his famous "red shirts". Hypsypops is a made-up word from the Greek hypsi 'high', hypo 'under' and ops 'eye' (hypopion 'cheek', 'face'), meaning 'fish with high cheeks'. Rubicundus is Latin for "bright red, crimson".

Features of fish fins

Dorsal spines (total): 12; Dorsal soft rays (total): 16-17; Anal spines: 2; Anal soft rays: 13-14.

Fish colouring

Fish are bright orange. Juveniles have a bright red torso with blue spots.


They inhabit the eastern Pacific Ocean from Monterey to Baja California and Guadalupe Island.


A marine subtropical species. They live in the cool waters of seaweed forests and near rocky shores at depths of up to 30 meters.


Up to 30 cm in length. Maximum weight: 0.7 kg. Maximum reported age: 57 years.


Adults live on rocky bottoms in clear water, often near crevices and small caves, sometimes in thickets of algae. Garibaldi are territorial and do not migrate.

Food and feeding habits

Feeds primarily on attached invertebrates. 


Egg-laying, mating during breeding. The male clears a protected nest site. Female lays eggs. Eggs are on the bottom and stick to the substrate. The male guards and aerates the eggs. 


This species is of no economic importance. It is caught on light spinning and natural baits.

Relationship with a person

Can be bred as an aquarium fish. The only species of the genus Hypsypops that is protected in the USA and is a symbol of the state of California.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Family Pomacentridae
Genus Hypsypops
Species H. rubicundus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 57
Maximum body weight, kg 0,7
Maximum length, cm 30
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Planktonophage

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Tags: garibaldi