Shoshone pupfish

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Shoshone pupfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Cyprinodontidae
Species: C. nevadensis
Subspecies: C. n. shoshone
Trinomial name
Cyprinodon nevadensis shoshone
R. R. Miller, 1948

The Shoshone pupfish, Cyprinodon nevadensis shoshone, is characterized by large scales and a "slab-sided," narrow, slender body, with the arch of the ventral contour much less pronounced than the dorsal. It also has fewer pelvic fin rays and scales than the other pupfish subspecies.


  • Shoshone Springs
  • upper Amargosa River
  • Amargosa Desert
  • Amargosa Valley
  • 21 km north of Tecopa, California
  • Inyo County, California
    • Considered extinct by the late 1960s; rediscovered 1986 at spring's outflow.[1]
  • Shoshone Spring outflow, Shoshone, Inyo County, California.
    • Rediscovery by F. R. Taylor, R. R. Miller (the original describer), J. W. Pedretti, and J. E. Deacon documented in "Rediscovery of the Shoshone Pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis shoshone (Cyprinodontidae), at Shoshone Springs, Inyo County, California". published in Bull. Southern California Acad. Sci. 87(2), 1988, pp 67–73. The rediscovery date is 31 July 1986 in which caudal ray count differed from the original description. Note: although rediscovered, this pupfish does not enjoy ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS and its present survival is unverified by redocumentation.


Pupfish, such as the Shoshone pupfish, exhibit many adaptions for life in extreme thermal and osmotic environments. Pupfish growth is rapid and sexual maturity is reached within four to six weeks. This short generation time enables pupfish to maintain small but viable populations. Among the subspecies, however, there are minor differences in generation times, with pupfish in habitats with widely fluctuating environmental conditions exhibiting the shortest.

Shoshone pupfish like other C. nevadensis subspecies had wide temperature tolerances (2 to 44 °C); however, the preferred range is 24 to 30 °C. Extreme temperatures affect egg production and viability, thus any alterations to their habitat that would result in temperature changes outside the range of their reproductive temperature optima are potentially deleterious. Eggs, however, become resistant to environmental stresses within hours of being laid.

Shoshone pupfish, like other pupfishes, feed primarily on blue-green cyanobacteria but also consume small invertebrates like chironomid larvae, ostracods, and copepods. They forage continuously from sunrise to sunset and become inactive at night. Their guts are extremely long and convoluted, an adaptation that enables them to digest cyanobacteria.

See also[edit]

Other local Cyprinodons[edit]