Humans made the conditions for the pupfish’s extinction- now humans keep it alive.

The pupfish, also known as the rarest fish in the world, are a group of killifish with striking coloration. They are mostly found in the extreme and isolated environment. These rare species of fish lives in a single pool in the Mojave Desert. They went almost extinct with their only canyon pool being pumped.

The description of Pupfish

Pupfish are small, colorful, knuckle-sized and ray-finned fishes. The most famous amongst them are the Devil’s Hole pupfish. The Devil’s Hole pupfish are bright blue with purple accents whereas, the white sands pupfish has yellow and orange fins. Most of the pupfish are very tiny, some even less than an inch in length.

The diet of these pupfish includes variety of things, consisting of algae, plants, aquatic invertebrates and some insects.

About the devils hole pupfish

The fascinating and playful pupfish with bright, silvery-blue and lustrous body are found in an oasis within the Death Valley called as- The Devils Hole. These mighty goldfish-like fishes survive in the 92 degrees water of the Devil’s Hole. They withstand harsh conditions that would kill most other fish.  Another fact about this fish is that it acts as an indicator of seismic activity around the globe.


Hottest, Driest and the Lowest National Park

The Death Valley as the name sounds is a land of the most extreme conditions. You can expect a scorching heat of 110 F to 120 F +. Even though this land experiences droughts and record summer heat, in the winters the peaks of the mountains are snow-laden. This land welcomes rainstorms rarely. Lush oases harbor tiny fishes and refuge for wildlife and humans. The name might sound very morbid but it is home to a great diversity of life.

What threatened their existence?

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, groundwater was pumped out extensively for the agricultural purposes. This activity led to a major downfall of the water level in Devil’s Hole. These invasions were a threat to the very existence of this fascinating species.

So, a group of academics, government employees and private citizens met in 1969 to speak about the protections needed for the fauna in Devil’s Hole.

The desert pupfish has been classified as endangered by IUCN. Due to the pumping of the aquifer since 1960’s, the fish never recovered. Later, it was decided that a back-up population was needed. A replica was created where one part of the population resides in the fake canyon, and the other in the natural canyon.

How many Devils Hole pupfish are left in 2020?

The observable population of the Devil’s Hole pupfish has reached 136. In the years 2006, 2007, and 2013 their population was less than 40. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, scientists counted near about 200 Devils Hole pupfish. And in the late 1990s there was startling decline in their numbers.

“Despite these extremes, Devils Hole pupfish continue to display their resiliency that have allowed them to survive for thousands of years”, said Brandon Senger, Supervising Fisheries Biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).