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Pupfish Alert

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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14,581 posts
48 reviews
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Pupfish Alert

If anyone is going to Death Valley in the next couple of weeks, be SURE to go to Salt Creek to see the pupfish. Some years, there are not that many if the creek is low or has dried up.

This past week, there was abundant water and huge numbers of pupfish. They were very active. You'll see the males (blue) being very aggressive. You will also see birds "fishing" in the creek. For a gourmet treat, nibble on the pickleweed that grows along the creek and thrives on water saltier than the ocean.

Several species of Cyprinodon (pupfish) exist only in the Death Valley area. These species evolved after the large inland sea dried up and isolated them in scattered locations, where they adapted to the local temperatures, salinity, and plant life. They are small fish, about pinkie finger size, and a unique, exciting sight to see in the desert.

Forestville...
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for Sonoma
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4,826 posts
78 reviews
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1. Re: Pupfish Alert

This is fantastic news! I recall that many yrs ago I made a visit to DV and looked unsuccessfully for well over an hr. hoping to see those pupfish. Altho' the trip was great, it was a major disappointment not to find them. Thanks for the alert about this extraordinary sight! Long live the pupfish!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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14,581 posts
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2. Re: Pupfish Alert

Bumping for those planning springtime DV trips.

The pupfish will soon be very active, as the weather warms up and the stream begins to swell. Salt Creek originates from springs under the Sand Dunes, north of the nature boardwalk area. It is a perennial stream but flows above ground for only a few miles, and the visible part of it dries up in the summer. The Salt Creek turnoff from Hwy 190 takes you to the trail, where you can walk whatever distance you want and, if you are fortunate, see these fascinating tiny fish. This is truly one of the most exciting things to see in DV.

The phrase "desert marsh" may seem ironic, but that's what this is. This is one of a surprisingly large number of places in DV where there is abundant water, so you'll see lots of plant and animal life, ranging from algae and savory pickleweed to birds, to an occasional coyote.

Pupfish estivate. That is the opposite of hibernate; it means they go dormant in warm weather, not cold. As the weather heats up and the aboveground stream goes dry, you see fewer and fewer. June will probably be too late to see them, until the following spring.

Adirondack, New York
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3. Re: Pupfish Alert

Thank you Frisco_Roadrunner. Last year in the end of March they were beautifully colorful and active. I'll be there in a couple of weeks and can't wait to see them again. So pupfish estivate not hibernate. Always something new to learn.

Yes! Long live the pupfish

I also hope wildflowers are plentiful this spring. I checked today wildflower reports and everything looks very promising.

Santa Ana, CA
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4. Re: Pupfish Alert

I saw these pupfish two weeks ago at China Ranch.

You take the hiking trail out to the Amargosa River. Follow the trail upstream (along the railroad berm) to the waterfall. The pupfish were in the little pond area above the falls.

5. Re: Pupfish Alert

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