Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Warm Springs pupfish
(Cyprinodon nevadensis pectoralis)

Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Cyprinodontidae
Genus: Cyprinodon
Species: nevadensis
Sub-species: pectoralis
Length: up to 2.5 inches
Lifespan: 6 to 9 months
Feed: insects and plant matter
Habitat: Thermal springs and their outflows; source pools and headwaters are essential

Official Status:


Life History:

Pupfish develop quickly, sometimes reaching full maturity within 2 to 3 months. Although their average life span is 6 to 9 months, some survive more than one year.

As spring approaches and the water warms, Pupfish become very active and begin their mating ritual. The breeding males become iridescent blue in color and defend their territory, chasing away all other fish except females that are ready to spawn. Spawning starts towards the end of February and continues through summer.

As temperatures become extreme toward summer, evaporation dries up most pools and streams, resulting in the death of most Pupfish. A few survive in the small number of pools, streams and springs that do not dry up completely.


Distribution and Habitat:


The Warm Springs pupfish is found in only six springs at a slightly higher elevation and west of Devil's Hole, Ash Meadows, Nye County, Nevada.




habitat disturbance due to agricultural development, the water in which they dwell has been altered in the past, resulting in lower water levels


Actions / Current Information:


  Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
  03/25/2009 74 FR 12878 12883 - Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of 58 Species in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah; Availability of Completed 5-Year Reviews in California and Nevada Notice 5-year Review, Initiation  
  09/28/1990 Recovery Plan for the Endangered and Threatened Species of Ash Meadows, Nevada (5.4MB PDF) View Implementation Progress Final
Last updated: April 16, 2014