Name: Garibaldi
Scientific name: Hypsypops rubicundus
Range: Along the California Coast
Habitat: Shallow waters along rocky bottoms
Status: Not threatened 
Diet in the wild: insects, foliage
Diet in the zoo: herbivore diet
Location in the zoo: Aquarium 
(Aquarium closed:  not currently on exhibit)
Physical description: Garibaldi, fort Worth Zoo
  • Body Length is roughly 12 to 14 inches. 
  • Orange in color
  • Small, narrow mouth
  • Rounded, somewhat oval shape. 
  • Tail is short, and heart shaped 
  • Stubby fins
  • When young, Garibaldis have blue spots

General information:

Although most fish swim in schools, the Garibaldi is solitary in nature.  It is a fiercely territorial fish, and will often attack larger animals that threaten its young.  The garibaldi uses its bright orange color to ward off potential predators.  It usually prefers warm, shallow water and dwells in temperate saltwater regions.

Special anatomical, physiological
or behavioral adaptations: 

Contrary to the majority of other organisms, it is the male Garibaldi who builds the nest and takes care of the young.  Female Garibaldis are very selective in choosing a mate, and most males are actually rejected.

Although the garibaldi is a rather small fish, it can become extremely aggressive, especially when it comes to protecting its young.  Its bright orange color makes it very recogizeable, not only to would-be predators, but to humans as well.

Comments about the Garibaldi of the Fort Worth Zoo:

Unfortunately, the aquarium at the Fort Worth Zoo closed down before I had an opportunity to see it or talk to any of the keepers about it.
Garibaldi, Fort Worth Zoo

However, I did go to New Orleans and saw the Garibaldi there.  Although I could not find anyone with whom I could speak about the fish, I did get to read some interesting background information and observe the fish for quite some time.

Personal Observations:

What struck me most about the fish I observed in New Orleans was the fact that, even in the aquarium, Garibaldis are still very solitary, electing to be alone rather than swim with the other fish.

Source Materials and Related Links:

Page author:John English

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