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Garibaldi, Sebastes ruberrimus

Garibaldi are the largest of the 240 members of the damselfish family, growing to an average of ten to twelve inches and a maximum length of fourteen inches. They are brilliant orange, and their name derives from an Italian army leader, Guiseppie Garibaldi, whose troops wore brightly colored tunics. Garibaldi live in the Pacific off of southern California and Mexico in rocky shallows and kelp beds, where they feed on algae, mollusks, worms, and sponges. They are extremely territorial and have been known to attack SCUBA divers that get too close to their nests. In early March when the spawning season begins, a male garibaldi will spend a month building an algae nest ranging in size from one foot to ten feet square and then performs a unique fish dance around it to attract a mate. Garibaldi are edible, but not the target of any major fisheries. They are captured for home and institutional aquarium markets.

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