Live Underwater Pupfish Webcam
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About the Pupfish Cam
This camera is located in the cienega habitat at the Red Mountain Campus of Mesa Community College, an important partner in conserving this endangered fish and other wildlife species. The cienega pond houses a variety of native wildlife including Gila topminnows (another endangered fish), long-finned dace, lowland leopard frogs, and Sonoran mud turtles. This pond is part of an effort to establish literal gene pools for present and future conservation efforts ensuring that these important fishes are not lost to future generations. These ponds are a cooperative effort with conservation minded institutions, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Through these partnerships small refuge ponds have been set up to breed and house these fish, acting as gene pools to conserve discrete linages of native fish. These refugia are used as source populations for reintroducing endangered fish back to historic habitats.
Desert pupfish are one of 34 species of fish native to Arizona. Like many of our native fishes they belong to the minnow family; Cyprinidae. Contrary to popular belief, minnows are not defined by their size, but rather by a suite of physical features that separate them from other fishes. Minnows are the largest family of fishes in the world with about 3,000 living species. Many minnows are quite large. One species native to our state, the Colorado pike minnow, reached six feet in length and weights of 100lbs. Many of these larger species of native fishes were an important food resource for Native Americans. Learn more about Arizona’s unique native fishes.
Historically there were three species of pupfish found in Arizona. The Monkey Springs pupfish is extinct due to the introduction of predatory large-mouthed bass into its limited southern Arizona habitat. The remaining two species, Quitoboquito pupfish and desert pupfish are listed as endangered species and the focus of intensive conservation efforts including ponds were captive breed fish serve as gene pools for reintroduction into historic habitats.
For more information visit the AZGFD website.
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Last Edited on 2018-3-10
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