Re: NANFA-- Re: Pupfish

Christopher Scharpf (
Wed, 06 Jun 2001 14:34:06 -0400

>I do not believe that if given proper care, the C. diabolis that becomes a
>larger fish with better finnage stops being a C. diabolis. The harsh
>environment in which they naturally live, limits their full potential and
>the fish are merely surviving. Given a good environment the fish thrive and
>look much more beautiful.


You're imposing subjective criteria on the fish. Just because captive diabolis
are more attractive, in your eyes, does not make them better. The first rule of
thumb in conservation is "natural is better."

Also, the pupfish is suited just fine to where it lives. It's been there for
tens of thousands of years. It evolved to exploit its habitat (which is the most
restricted natural range of any vertebrate on earth). As long as it has
sufficient amounts of water, it flourishes to the extent that it needs to pass
on its genes to the next generation. What a remarkable creature!

>It is a shame that the C.diabolis are not given a chance to beautifully
> thrive in public aquaria.

Actually, the USFWS's recovery plan for the fish recommends public display:
"Because of the remoteness of habitats and restrictions to the general public on
visting these habitats, living Devil's Hole pupfish are rarely seen except by
the few who work directly with the fish. For this reason, aquarium displays at
public aquaria and at major events, such as conventios and large meetings are

I don't know why the fish isn't on exhibit. One public aquarist told me they
don't want them. Too hard too keep, they only live for a year, and the general
public finds them (as they do most nongame fishes) boring.

Chris Scharpf

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