Devil's Hole Pupfish   FISH
Devil's Hole Pupfish
Devil's Hole Pupfish
Scientific Name:
Cyprinodon diabolis
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-US FWS: March 11, 1967
VU-IUCN: 1996
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:

The Devils Hole pupfish is a unique pupfish species only found in a limestone cave located on the east central border of Ash Meadows, Nye County, Nevada. The cave has been named Devils Hole and is filled with a body of water (no bigger than a backyard pool) where this small fish is able to reproduce. Adults can only reach up to an inch long. This fish is the smallest desert pupfish species in the world and probably the most endangered. Other pupfish species have pelvic fins, but this pupfish does not, and it has a large head in proportion to its body and long anal fins. Males are solid deep blue with a black band on the caudal fin, and they may sometimes appear neon bluish in color when sunlight is able to reach the water. Females are yellowish-brown along the back and have a dark edge on the dorsal fin and a dark bar along the front of the tail fin.

Devils Hole is a natural spring pool and is located approximately 49 feet below the desert surface. This spring descends deep into the ground, and scuba divers were once able to explore about 100 feet within the cave where more of the fish were found. The diet of the Devils Hole pupfish consists of algae, diatoms, and invertebrates. Breeding can occur year-round, but occurs more in April and May when the temperature is just right. To mate, a male will follow behind a female that bears eggs, and they remain together for about an hour, traveling to the bottom of the pool for spawning.

The main threat to this species is water loss. In the past, water was pumped out of the area for agricultural purposes, nearly wiping out the species, but in 1977, the area was legally protected so that a minimum water level would be maintained to preserve the species. Unfortunately, water levels continue to decrease today through erosion and development in the surrounding areas. To preserve the species some specimens were collected and moved to the Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay, and more were taken to the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery in Arizona. Only 36 pupfish remain in the Devils Hole, but thanks to these conservation efforts, over 200 more survive in these protected aquariums.

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Copyright Notice: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Devils Hole pupfish".

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