Scientists stymied by inch-long fish

Dec 22, 2005

Scientists say they are unable to explain the steady declined in the number of pupfish -- an endangered species that lives only in a Nevada limestone cave.

For the last decade the number of pupfish in Devils Hole, a deep, water-filled cavern about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, has dwindled, the Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday.

The population last month was tallied at 84 -- the same as in February.

Jim Deacon, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas biologist, said, "The expected increase this fall did not happen. All through last summer there was egg-laying and babies produced, but not enough to increase the adult population, so we're still at very dangerous levels."

Observers are increasingly worried that whatever they do, the species may be on a slide to extinction, the newspaper said.

"It doesn't look like there was a change in the ecological relationships," Deacon told the Sun. "One easy cop out is to say there is a genetic bottleneck, but I think that's too easy.

"They've been there for 10,000 or 60,000 years, somewhere in that neighborhood, so why would they blink out now?"

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Small high school reform boosts districtwide outcomes

Related Stories

Engineering a better future for the Mississippi Delta

43 minutes ago

River deltas, low-lying landforms that host critical and diverse ecosystems as well as high concentrations of human population, face an uncertain future. Even as some deltas experience decreased sediment ...

Strong evidence for coronal heating theory presented

1 hour ago

The Sun's surface is blisteringly hot at 6,000 kelvins or 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit—but its atmosphere is another 300 times hotter. This has led to an enduring mystery for those who study the Sun: What ...

Recommended for you

Small high school reform boosts districtwide outcomes

2 hours ago

Creating small high schools improves outcomes for students in the overall school district - both in new small schools and existing larger schools - according to a study of New York City schools by researchers ...

Research calculates the value of free trial offers

6 hours ago

Free trials are wildly popular, but customers attracted by these promotions behave very differently to normal customers, according to new research by a Massey University marketing professor.

Municipalities should promote interculturalism

6 hours ago

Accompanied by her husband, a woman goes to the library to borrow a book. When the librarian asks her for ID, her husband intervenes and takes out the woman's card from his pocket. Surprised, the city employee ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.