Fun Tecopa Pupfish Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Tecopa Pupfish Facts For Kids

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The Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) was first described by Robert Miller in 1948 after six years of research. With a blunt head and dorsal fins close to the tail, these fishes were endemic to the Californian hot spring outflows in Tecopa at an altitude of 1,411 ft (430 m). The Tecopa pupfish was a heat-resistant species capable of surviving high water temperatures of over 110 F (43.3 C). While males displayed a bright blue body color while breeding, females could be identified by the vertical stripes near the tail. Their evolution to extinction had a long history of natural geographical changes to indiscriminate human interference. In 1970, they were declared Extinct by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service after a thorough exploration of 40 places. Improper conservation and inhumane habitat destruction have made them a species of history.

Want to know more about pupfish? Read on to know more about this extinct fish species. For more relatable content, check out these lumpfish facts and pilchard facts for kids.

Fun Tecopa Pupfish Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Mosquito larvae and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria)

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

1-1.5 in (2.5-3.8 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Gray, white, silver, and bright blue

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Amargosa Pupfish And Humans

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Hot Springs Of River Tributaries


Tecopa Hot Springs And Tributary Of Amargosa River In California









Tecopa Pupfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Tecopa pupfish?

The Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae), also known as the desert pupfish, was an endemic fish species of the Tecopa hot springs in the Mohave desert of California. It is a subspecies of the Amargosa pupfish. Due to various anthropogenic causes, this fish is now extinct.

What class of animal does a Tecopa pupfish belong to?

The Tecopa pupfish (C. nevadensis calidae) of the family Cyprinodontidae belongs to the class Actinopterygii.

How many Tecopa pupfish are there in the world?

The Tecopa pupfish of California was declared extinct from the world in 1970. This fish species is not found anywhere in the world.

Where does a Tecopa pupfish live?

The Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) lived in the Mohave Desert of California in the Tecopa hot springs, 2 mi (3.2 km) away from Tecopa in Inyo County of California and tributaries of the Amargosa River.  

What is a Tecopa pupfish's habitat?

The habitat of this fish species, a subspecies of the Cyprinodon species, consisted of hot springs and tributary outflows of the Amargosa River of the Mohave desert. The Tecopa (C. nevadensis calidae) could withstand extremely high water temperatures of greater than 110 F (43.3 C). They were also found in lakes of the desert until their extinction.

Who do Tecopa pupfish live with?

The Tecopa subspecies that lived in the desert of California preferred to live on their own in their region. They were a native and endemic fish species of the desert region. The introduction of non-native species acted as a threat to their survival. Consequently, they became an endangered species which ultimately led to their extinction.

How long does a Tecopa pupfish live?

The life expectancy of a Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis) was two years in their natural habitat.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding males displayed a bright blue color to attract females to spawn. They would breed two to 10 offspring per breeding season, depending on the water temperature. Extremely hot temperatures and salty waters hindered their life cycle and breeding which later caused their extinction.

What is their conservation status?

The Tecopa pupfish, a subspecies of the Amargosa pupfish, became extinct in 1970. These pupfish were enlisted as an Extinct species in the IUCN Red List in 1973. The construction of bathhouses channeled out water from the hot springs. Also, the introduction of non-native fishes like bluegill became dominant in their native habitat range. Agricultural and domestic water pollution in the thermal spring outflows also threatened their survival. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service surveyed over 40 places to locate and conserve the then endangered species before its extinction, but couldn't save them.

Tecopa Pupfish Fun Facts

What do Tecopa pupfish look like?

The Tecopa pupfish was a subspecies of the pupfish family with small dorsal fins closer to the tail. Breeding males had a bright blue color on their body which differentiated them from non-breeding females. The female body had six to 10 vertical stripes. The head was small and oval-shaped, having tricuspid teeth on its mouth. The pelvic fins were small and sometimes absent. The pelvic fin also had a set of six fin rays.

Tecopa Pupfish lived in hot springs

* Please note that the main image is of a Rare pupfish in Death Valley, not a Tecopa pupfish. If you have an image of a Tecopa pupfish please let us know at [email protected].

How cute are they?

Just like the angelfish, this extinct pupfish was a cute-looking small fish species native to the hot spring outflows of California. Their small, blunt head, vertical stripes, short dorsal fins closer to the tail, and bright blue body color with silver scales gave them an adorable appearance.

How do they communicate?

The Tecopa pupfish was an endemic fish species that preferred surviving on its own without inter-species interaction. The purposeful introduction of non-native species by humans in their habitat became a major cause of their extinction.

How big is a Tecopa pupfish?

The size of the Tecopa pupfish was 1-1.5 in (2.5-3.8 cm) long. These fishes were four times the size of snails and three times smaller than a shark fish.

How fast can a Tecopa pupfish fly?

The Tecopa pupfish was a fish species belonging to the pupfish family Cyprinodontidae. They could not fly but could swim in the Tecopa hot springs, surviving in a high water temperature. However, the exact swimming speed of these extinct fishes is not known.

How much does a Tecopa pupfish weigh?

The Tecopa pupfish was a small-sized fish species of North America whose exact weight is not known. With their small head, fin, and tail, their weight is considered to be negligible.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There were no separate names assigned to a male and female Tecopa pupfish.

What would you call a baby Tecopa pupfish?

A baby Tecopa pupfish did not have a separate name assigned to it.

What do they eat?

The Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) was an omnivore fish species. Its diet consisted mostly of blue-green algae found in river waters and mosquito larvae.

Are they dangerous?

The Tecopa pupfish, a Cyprinodon species of North America, did not pose any danger to human beings. On the contrary, due to excess human interference in the hot springs, these fishes became an endangered species. In 1970, these fishes were declared Extinct by the IUCN. Since they fed mostly on algae and mosquito larvae, they were not very predatory by nature and weren't very dangerous to other species.

Would they make a good pet?

These fishes before extinction were an endangered species, looked after by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Keeping them as pets were totally out of question. Also, these pupfishes would not survive at home aquariums as they required a high hot water temperature for their survival.

Did you know...

The pelvic fin having six fin rays was called Lepidotrichia.

Tecopa pupfish is the first animal species to be removed from the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species due to its extinction in 1973.

The other five subspecies of the Cyprinodon family were the Amargosa pupfish, ash meadows pupfish, death valley pupfish, devil's hole pupfish and warm springs pupfish.

In 1970, the last pupfish was found in an artificial pond near Jed's Motel in Tecopa hot springs.

Is the Tecopa pupfish endemic?

These fishes derived their name from their region where they lived. Tecopa pupfish were an endemic fish species native to the Tecopa hot springs of the Mohave desert region in California, North America. This species of pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) wandered in the outflows of  hot springs, which joined the Amargosa River as its tributaries. These fishes were also found in places the Amargosa River flowed through. They were an endangered species before their extinction as they were not found anywhere else in the world except for this region in North America.

How did the Tecopa pupfish evolve?

The Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) was one out of the six subspecies of the pupfish family Cyprinodontidae. It was first described by Robert Rush Miller, after six years of research. This species first emerged in the mid-Pleistocene period, over 10,000 years ago. During that time, the region was dotted with many pluvial lakes and the water evaporated over time due to desertification. As these lakes died, these fishes became geographically isolated and became endemic to the outflows of the Tecopa hot springs. However, due to excess human interference around the natural geysers by the introduction of non-native species of fishes, the Tecopa pupfish became endangered and later became extinct.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our peacock gudgeon interesting facts and conger eel surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable tecopa pupfish coloring pages.

* Please note that this is an image of an Amargosa river pupfish, not a Tecopa pupfish. If you have an image of a Tecopa pupfish please let us know at [email protected].

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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