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Devil’s Hole Comeback

"Death Valley Pupfish". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia

In a Nye County hot springs 90 miles west of Las Vegas, the tiny population of one of the world’s most endangered species has staged a comeback.

The Devil’s Hole pupfish, found only in a cavern that gave the fish its name, has rebounded from 35 fish in 2013 to 115 this spring, according to a census conducted by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

The one-inch fish is the subject of an aggressive preservation effort that includes using shag carpet to harvest eggs, which are then identified by microscope, incubated, hatched, and raised at a nearby lab.

“We’re trying to create as much diversity as possible,” said Corey Lee of the Fish and Wildlife Service, “For a fish that got down to 35 individuals in the wild, it hit a pretty big genetic bottleneck.”


Corey Lee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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