Empetrichthys merriami

Ash Meadows Killifish
(Empetrichthys merriami)

syn. -


USA: Ash Meadows / Nye County / Nevada

local name:

Ash Meadows Killifish; Ash Meadows Poolfish (English)

size: ca. 5,9 cm (Lšnge)

extinction date: last seen in 1948

This tiny fish lived in clear spring pools in the region that today is the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The species was already described scientifically in the year 1893.

The water, that comes out of the ground in the numerous springs is so called fossil water. That means, the water originates from long passed prehistorical periods in the histoy of earth and is not renewed by recent rainfalls.

Before the springs in the Ash Meadow region were declared a National Wildlife Refuge in the year 1984, some of the springs, above all those who had warm water, were canalized for the supply of bathhouses and hotels.


The extinction of the Ash Meadows Killifish however was caused by the intentional introduction of several alien species of animals, among them Freshwater Crayfishes (Procambarus clarkii), Mosquitofishes (Gambusia affinis), Mollies (Poecilia sphenops) as well as North American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbiana), which on the one hand were food competitors but on the other hand did also prey on the killifishes as well as on their offspring.

The last members of this species were seen in the year 1948.


Ash Meadows-Killifisch (Empetrichthys merriami)

Depiction from 'Fishes, by David Starr Jordan; New York, Henry Holt and Company. 1907'