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Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Nevada: Last Refuge of the Devil's Hole Pupfish

Out in the middle of a hellish desert, surrounded by a high fence, where the Pupfish fight to stay alive.

Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge

Devil's Hole Rd, Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, NV
In the Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge. Take Ash Meadows Rd/Bob Rudd Memorial Hwy either 17 miles west of Pahrump, Nevada, or 1.5 miles east of the California/Nevada state line. Watch for the sign for Devils Hole. Drive north into the desert on a dirt road for around five miles, then bear right onto Point of Rocks/Devils Hole Rd for 1.5 miles. Bring water, a hat, and sunscreen.
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Visitor Tips and News About Last Refuge of the Devil's Hole Pupfish

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Last Refuge of the Devil's Hole Pupfish

The most recent count of Pupfish was 263 after an earthquake in Mexico caused four-foot-high waves within the Devil's Hole [part of a submerged cave system], where the Pupfish live. This apparently encouraged spawning, and their numbers are the highest that they've been in 20 years. Yay for the Pupfish!

[Amy Hallmark, 06/30/2023]

The population was as low as 38 in 2006.

Devil's Hole.

Last Refuge of the Devil's Hole Pupfish

Death Valley has a special spot, surrounded by a fence, in feeble defense of a creature on the verge of extinction. It's the last natural environment where you'll find the Devil's Hole Pupfish -- an iridescent blue fish, only an inch long. The last pupfish live in 92 to 93 degree F water on a rock shelf in a 400 ft. submerged cave. The 6x12 ft. rock shelf is visible from the surface, surrounded by a fence with warnings and an explanatory sign.

Unfortunately, even this last refuge is losing pupfish at an alarming rate, for unknown reasons. The official 2006 count (scientists conduct a twice-yearly audit) was down to about 38 adults.

Interpretive sign about Pupfish.

A couple of Devil's Hole pupfish were relocated to the Mandalay Bay casino's Shark Reef Aquarium in the hopes of establishing a population in an aquarium (and more convenient to tourists if the doomed pupfish bounce back).

[ Team, 01/06/2008]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Massive PigMassive Pig, Amargosa Valley, NV - 7 mi.
Big Bovine of the DesertBig Bovine of the Desert, Amargosa Valley, NV - 7 mi.
Amargosa Opera HouseAmargosa Opera House, Death Valley Junction, CA - 11 mi.
In the region:
Western Hemisphere's Lowest Pit Toilet, Death Valley, CA - 30 mi.

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