Why are Garibaldi called Garibaldi?
These bright orange fish are named for Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose followers often wore a scarlet or red shirt. When biologists discovered a brilliant red-orange fish cruising the rocky reefs of California — one that sallied out to bare its teeth at any intruder — they knew exactly what to name it.
- The fish’s orange color is a warning, male Garibaldis aggressively defend the nest site after the female lays eggs.
- The male garibaldi doesn’t get sentimental after attracting a mate. As soon as a female has laid her eggs, the male chases her away before fertilizing the eggs by scattering sperm over them. He also chases off any other creatures that venture too close, including divers.
- A garibaldi has a clear idea of exactly where its territory ends, and two males may be seen peacefully grazing less than two feet apart — as long as each remains on his own turf. The female garibaldi tends to be less protective of her territory, perhaps because it contains no eggs.
Find this bright California state fish in many of our exhibits, but most notably in our Giant Kelp Forest — how many can you spot? Plan your next visit today — We highly recommend that you reserve your tickets in advance, as we’ve been selling out most days.