Brutal beetles kept world’s rarest fish from breeding—until now
Researchers have made a breakthrough in their effort to save the Devils Hole pupfish, which produced more eggs in 2018 than ever before.
Olin Feuerbacher couldn’t believe his eyes. It was December of 2017, and he’d been reviewing film captured the night prior, from a captive population of Devils Hole pupfish—the rarest fish on the planet.
These inch-long, electric blue fish have been stranded in a submerged limestone cavern in the Nevadan desert since the last Ice Age. The fish only live upwards of a year, and as such the population is prone to large swings, but lately it’s looked grim: In 2013, the entire population dropped to just 35 fish.
In the years since, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened the Ash Meadows Fish Conservation Facility, which houses a gigantic, 100,000 gallon replica of Devil’s Hole that can be controlled and protected. The