Comanche Springs Pupfish (Cyprinodon elegans)

Picture of Comanche Springs Pupfish (Cyprinodon elegans)

© Photo courtesy Dave Schleser

Texas Status
U.S. Status
Endangered, Listed 3/11/1967
Comanche Springs pupfish grow to about 2 inches in length. Males have a bright shiny stripe on the side to attract females
Life History
Like other pupfish, these fish are adapted to harsh desert conditions. They are able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures and salinities (saltiness). Their diet consists of algae and small invertebrates. They live 1-2 years.
Comanche Springs pupfish habitat requires flowing water from desert springs.
Distribution of the Comanche Springs Pupfish (Cyprinodon elegans)This rare species is found only in spring-fed waters near Balmorhea, Texas.
Comanche Springs Pupfish live in water flowing from west Texas springs. They used to be found in Comanche Springs near Ft. Stockton, but these fish died when the springs went dry in 1955. Now they are found only in the springs near Balmorhea. These pupfish are endangered because many of the large springs in west Texas are drying up. More water is being pumped from the ground than is being replaced by rainfall. A desert oasis has been built near Balmorhea to provide habitat for the fish. Visit Balmorhea State Park to learn more about the pupfish.