NANFA-- Devls Hole pupfish

Jay DeLong (
Sat, 27 Nov 1999 09:18:49 -0800

Shireen Gonzaga said:
> Devils Hole Pupfish Recovery Plan, July 15 1980.
> Prepared by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in
> cooperation with the Devils Hole Pupfish Recovery Team.
> Pages 8,11:
> "In October 1972, when the need for a second population of the
> Devils Hole pupfish became apparent, 27 C. diabolis were
> transplanted into the Hoover Dam Refuge, an artificial refuge
> below Hoover Dam, Clark County, Nevada. A reproducing
> population of C. diabolis now exists in this facility, with
> population levels fluctuating from 48 to 69 in recent years.
> However limited morphometric analysis indicate that the
> Hoover Dam Refugium population now exhibits an overall
> increase in body size and possibility some change in body
> proportions when compared to the original Devils Hole
> population. Apparently, there is no substitute for the
> environment provided by Devils Hole."
> But this is old information. I don't know the status of this
> population today. Perhaps Peter Unmack has more information.

That population disappeared for some reason and was re-established just a
year ago. I read that the first reproduction occurred this spring.
However, this is good evidence of possible problems associated with
tampering with natural populations.

What a quandry, huh? Do we leave small vulnerable populations alone with
the possibility that some environmental or human-caused disaster will wipe
them out, or do we protect some of them in refugia? And what does this say
about reintroductions?

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA

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