Phylogenetics support an ancient common origin of two scientific icons: Devils Hole and Devils Hole pupfish

  title={Phylogenetics support an ancient common origin of two scientific icons: Devils Hole and Devils Hole pupfish},
  author={İsmaİl K. Sağlam and Jason Baumsteiger and Matt J. Smith and Javier Linares-Casenave and Andrew L. Nichols and Sean M. O’Rourke and Michael R. Miller},
  journal={Molecular Ecology},
The Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis; DHP) is an icon of conservation biology. Isolated in a 50 m2 pool (Devils Hole), DHP is one of the rarest vertebrate species known and an evolutionary anomaly, having survived in complete isolation for thousands of years. However, recent findings suggest DHP might be younger than commonly thought, potentially introduced to Devils Hole by humans in the past thousand years. As a result, the significance of DHP from an evolutionary and conservation… 

New evidence for the recent divergence of Devil's Hole pupfish and the plausibility of elevated mutation rates in endangered taxa

The results highlight the need for measuring mutation rate in this fascinating species and suggest that the ages of endangered taxa present in small, isolated populations may frequently be overestimated.

Best available science still supports an ancient common origin of Devils Hole and Devils Hole pupfish

Why their arguments do not hold up are summarized and some of the inconsistencies between their claims are explored to reinforce the estimate of a 60 kya divergence of DHP as outweighing competing hypotheses.

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  • K. Brown
  • Environmental Science
    Notes and Records
  • 2021
This article explores the history of the Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis), regarded by scientists as having the smallest range of any vertebrate species in the world, a single 10 × 60 ft

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Evaluating an icon of population persistence: the Devil's Hole pupfish

  • J. ReedC. Stockwell
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2014
The analyses suggest that Devil's Hole pupfish colonized this pool well after the Pleistocene Lakes receded, probably within the last few hundred to few thousand years; this could have occurred through human intervention.

Diabolical survival in Death Valley: recent pupfish colonization, gene flow and genetic assimilation in the smallest species range on earth

It is estimated that Devils Hole was colonized by pupfish between 105 and 830 years ago, followed by genetic assimilation of pelvic fin loss and recent gene flow into neighbouring spring systems and support an emerging consensus that timescales for speciation are overestimated in many groups of rapidly evolving species.


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It is shown that artificial propagation of the endangered Devil's Hole pupfish Cyprinodon diabolis resulted in rapid divergence for phenotypic and genetic characteristics despite attempts to replicate key characteristics of the species' native habitat when designing the artificial environments.


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Conservation of the Owens Pupfish: Genetic Effects of Multiple Translocations and Extirpations

All six extant populations of the endangered Owens Pupfish were examined to assess how management practices, including serial translocations and founder events, have influenced the genetic diversity of the species and to make recommendations for future management.