MediterraneanGrocery Wholesalers in Las Vegas, NV

Mediterranean Grocery Wholesalers Mobile Number770-795-9026

Free Estimate

We promise a 100% satisfaction guarantee

The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Las Vegas

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Las Vegas, NV. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Las Vegas's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Las Vegas. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Las Vegas, NV. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Las Vegas, NV

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Las Vegas,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Las Vegas, NV

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Las Vegas, NV

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Las Vegas, NV

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Las Vegas, NV, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Las Vegas, NV

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Las Vegas, NV

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Las Vegas, NV.

 Greek Grocery Store Las Vegas, NV

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.

4.

They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

Free Estimate
 Middle Eastern Store Las Vegas, NV

Latest News in Las Vegas, NV

Home builders unable to keep up with demand in Southern Nevada

Steve MarcusAs he stood on a dusty road where homes were being built in Inspirada, Klif Andrews talked about how the new home market did the opposite of what some thought it would do following the onset of the pandemic.“It’s still busy,” Andrews said. “It hasn’t slowed down. It’s a little more difficult to qualify now, which is why we’re a little more focused on town-homes and affordable h...

Steve Marcus

As he stood on a dusty road where homes were being built in Inspirada, Klif Andrews talked about how the new home market did the opposite of what some thought it would do following the onset of the pandemic.

“It’s still busy,” Andrews said. “It hasn’t slowed down. It’s a little more difficult to qualify now, which is why we’re a little more focused on town-homes and affordable houses.”

Andrews, the Nevada division president for homebuilder Tri Pointe Homes (formerly Pardee Homes), said he’s seen many ups and downs during his 30-plus years in the business, but that today’s market is unique.

Whether it’s new construction or the purchase of an existing home, prices are up, but demand has shown no signs of a significant slowdown.

In Southern Nevada, the median price for an existing home was a record-high $460,000 in March, according to the Las Vegas Realtors trade group. That represents a 27% increase from the same month in 2021.

In master-planned communities like Inspirada, new homes are typically more expensive than existing homes in other areas.

At Inspirada—the West Henderson community near the Las Vegas Raiders practice facility—Tri Pointe’s selection of new-home choices starts in the high $500,000 range and goes significantly up from there. The majority of those detached homes, according to Tri Pointe construction manager Matthew Gladd, are for former California residents on their second or third home.

“It is unusual that homes have been getting more expensive quickly, but there’s still a lot of demand,” Andrews said. “Some of that is just demographics. More than 50% of our buyers now are millennials or younger, and this is the most qualified group of buyers I’ve ever seen. They have great credit scores and they know what they’re doing.”

At Inspirada alone, Tri Pointe will likely build close to 200 homes this year. Andrews said selling all of them won’t be a problem.

“Supply is so tight, even if demand were to wane a significant amount, which I don’t think it will, we wouldn’t even notice it,” Andrews said. “We don’t have any completed homes that haven’t been sold. That didn’t used to be the case.”

According to the Las Vegas-based firm Home Builders Research, 4,153 building permits were issued in the Las Vegas Valley during the first three months of this year, which represented the highest total for any quarter since the pandemic began.

Since 2018, the Valley has hovered around 11,000 being constructed per year. In Las Vegas alone, nearly 2,800 building permits for single-family dwellings were issued in 2021, a 43% increase from 2017.

Like many other industries, the homebuilding sector has struggled with supply chain shortages and delays.

A big part of that has to do with the effects of the pandemic and the slowing of production of various goods around the world. It’s also been exacerbated of late, Andrews said, by the Russian military aggression in the Ukraine.

Andrews said duct work supplies are hard to come by now, as are air conditioning condensers, an obvious necessity for any home that goes up in the Mojave Desert.

Garage doors were hard to get for a period, though that’s changed recently, he said.

Nat Hodgson, CEO of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, said he knows of many builders in the Valley who are stressed. That’s not just because of relentless demand and material supply shortages, but also because of a tight labor market.

“We’re building as many houses as we can right now,” Hodgson said. “I just don’t see how we’re going to be able to build to satisfy the demand that’s out there. It’s never-ending. Look at people coming from California alone … then you look at rising interest rates and the high cost of materials … it just isn’t going in the right direction.”

In Southern Nevada, there are also always questions surrounding water and land availability.

According to a recent report released by research firm Applied Analysis and commissioned by the home builders association, housing demand in the region is expected to “outpace the market’s land capacity within the next 11 years.”

Hodgson said area leaders need to get to work to plan to implement policies geared toward making housing more affordable.

As millions of Southern California residents are expected to continue to seek refuge in Nevada from even higher housing prices in the Golden State in the coming years, it seems improbable that demand within the Southern Nevada housing market will wane at all.

Add to that the fact that the economic effects of the pandemic did almost nothing to quell demand, and that herds of millennials are ready and willing to enter the housing market, and it would seem that the Las Vegas Valley will have a complicated problem on its hands for some time.

“The results of the analysis are clear,” said Brian Gordon, principal at Applied Analysis and author of the report, in a statement, “as Southern Nevada continues to build out, the residential and non-residential land capacity of this community will only diminish over time.”

Click HERE to subscribe for free to Vegas Inc’s BizClick newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest business news in Las Vegas sent directly to your inbox each Monday.

This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

No Kidding: More families brought children on Las Vegas vacations

One tourism expert suspects surge of families will subside as conventions make their comeback The Entertainment Capital of the World has been a draw for families with children during the pandemic, and hospitality insiders have differing opinions.LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Entertainment Capital of the World has been a draw for families with children during the pandemic, and hospitality insiders have differing opinions on whether tourists with little ones will keep flocking to Las Vegas.According to the Las Vegas Conve...

One tourism expert suspects surge of families will subside as conventions make their comeback

The Entertainment Capital of the World has been a draw for families with children during the pandemic, and hospitality insiders have differing opinions.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Entertainment Capital of the World has been a draw for families with children during the pandemic, and hospitality insiders have differing opinions on whether tourists with little ones will keep flocking to Las Vegas.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, in 2019, 5% of tourists brought children with them. That number surged to 21% in 2021.

From the Strip to Downtown Las Vegas, families on their holiday said they are surprised by the amount of tiny tourists in town.

“At the hotel, [there’s] a lot of families at the pool,” said one mother from Canada, who brought the kids for Spring Break, eager for two Golden Knights games while they are in town.

“Vegas is a great place for families,” one father with pre-teens and teenagers said, coming from San Francisco for his wedding.

From the Spring Break travel season, the BTS concert and the NFL Draft, the start of 2022 has brought tourists of all ages for a Las Vegas vacation.

Is this Las Vegas’ new travel trend?

FOX5 turned to Alan Feldman, a former MGM executive and Distinguished Fellow of the International Gaming Institute at UNLV, for insight.

With large-scale conventions not quite back to 2019 levels, Feldman said the pandemic in 2020, 2021 and into 2022 has offered families a unique opportunity: an affordable Vegas family vacation.

“Rooms are plentiful, and their prices are low by comparison to what they would be in a normal year. And so as a result, the value of Las Vegas goes up. People who are traveling with family start looking at it in a different way,” Feldman said. “You’re going to see a complete change around here as we start getting conventions back, as the long haul international travel comes back,” Feldman said.

Feldman said Las Vegas should never again take a page from the 1990s tourism playbook and focus on luring families back in droves, although people with kids will always eye a Vegas vacation.

“Even in the 90s, that was, with all respect that was a historical mistake and a historical blip,” Feldman said. “It wasn’t the business model that makes Las Vegas strong... Las Vegas is and always will be a place for adults.

Lori Nelson-Kraft, senior vice president of communications with the LVCVA, echoed that sentiment, telling FOX5 in a statement that business and adult travel remains the economic focus:

“Las Vegas continues to offer a variety of attractions and activities that can be enjoyed by all ages, however, LVCVA’s marketing and sales efforts continue to focus on inviting adults to visit Las Vegas for a vacation, meeting or trade show. "

At least one resort hopes to capitalize on the kiddie comeback and keep drawing families.

Circus Circus, according to Feldman, has been historically geared towards families for decades, but has noticed a comeback in droves.

“Circus Circus is obviously a very family-friendly place, but we saw more families than than normal. We had record-breaking numbers coming through here in 2021,” said Shana Gerety, senior vice president of operations. She said Adventuredome attendance on a good day would be 2,000 people; pandemic trends led to attendance of 6,000 people a day.

“The past few weeks have been absolutely nuts. We’ve been packed,” Gerety said.

To keep visitors coming back, the casino and resort has invested $30 million in interior and exterior renovations. Among the changes: new rides inside Adventuredome, a new carnival fare food court with turkey legs and funnel cake and a brand-new pool. “ We’ve added more bars, we’ve changed restaurants... getting word out there, letting people know that Circus Circus is not just an old property, we’re really taking time to make it better,” Gerety said.

Gerety said pandemic trends have turned Las Vegas into a family-friendly destination. Migration trends of new residents have certainly brought more families to the Las Vegas valley.

“Vegas itself is starting to become a family place. If you look around, there’s a lot of properties that are trying to capture that family feel. I don’t think that the family feel is going to fall off. Especially as this town starts to get sports teams, and all that stuff coming through; those are real ‘family feels’,” Gerety said.

What will Las Vegas hold, for family vacations in the future? Depending on the property, as conventions return, Feldman advises tourists to look for “slow” periods.

“You’ve got to choose your dates a little more carefully. I think you’ve got to be a little more flexible. There are definitely some times of the year, August would be one of them, where you’re going to find incredible value here. The prices are lower, because the convention calendar has slowed down,” Feldman said.

Copyright 2022 KVVU. All rights reserved.

Welcome Sign Goes Turquoise for Lung Health

County Commissioners and representatives from the American Lung Association in Nevada turned the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign turquoise today in support of the association’s Turquoise Takeover Week and Women’s Lung Health Week.“Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer of men and women in the United States,” Commissioner Michael Naft said. “It is important to raise awareness of this deadly disease and support life-saving research into new treatments and early detection.”“The Lung Ass...

County Commissioners and representatives from the American Lung Association in Nevada turned the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign turquoise today in support of the association’s Turquoise Takeover Week and Women’s Lung Health Week.

“Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer of men and women in the United States,” Commissioner Michael Naft said. “It is important to raise awareness of this deadly disease and support life-saving research into new treatments and early detection.”

“The Lung Association is a great organization that provides valuable programs and services to patients and their families,” Commissioner Justin Jones said. “We are proud to support their efforts and encourage everyone to talk to their doctor and get checked because early detection is the key to surviving this terrible disease.”

This is the ninth anniversary of Women’s Lung Health Week, also known as Turquoise Takeover. Turquoise is the signature color of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative which works to raise awareness of lung cancer. Residents are encouraged to show their support for this effort by sharing images, videos and positive messages at Lung Association in Nevada social accounts on Twitter and Facebook (@LungNevada, @LUNGFORCE) as well as Instagram (@AmericanLungNV, @LUNGFORCE) using the hashtag #LUNGFORCENV.

The Lung Association encourages everyone to learn about lung cancer and talk to their doctor if they are concerned about their risk. More information is available through the association’s website at www.Lung.org.

County Commissioners and representatives from the American Lung Association in Nevada turned on turquoise light bulbs installed on the world-famous Welcome sign during a brief ceremony in front of the sign today. The light bulbs, which are usually yellow, surround the border of the sign. Like the famed Las Vegas Strip, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is in unincorporated Clark County.

Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 11th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to 2.3 million citizens and 45.6 million visitors a year (2019). Included are the nation’s 7th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to 1 million residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.

Developers turn to golf clubs to build housing projects in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's getting harder and harder to find places to build houses, particularly affordable housing, as the land here in Southern Nevada becomes more limited. What used to be the Royal Links Golf Club is now under construction to build 1600 homes.Mercedes Wright has lived in a neighborhood just across the street from this construction site here for six years, she says she chose this neighborhood for the peace and quiet, but she says that may no longer be the case with all these homes coming to the area."...

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's getting harder and harder to find places to build houses, particularly affordable housing, as the land here in Southern Nevada becomes more limited. What used to be the Royal Links Golf Club is now under construction to build 1600 homes.

Mercedes Wright has lived in a neighborhood just across the street from this construction site here for six years, she says she chose this neighborhood for the peace and quiet, but she says that may no longer be the case with all these homes coming to the area.

"They are bringing affordable housing to the area which we certainly need, but I do wish the homes were not built so close and as congested,” Wright said.

The Royal Links Golf Club in Sunrise Manor stopped operations in late December. Tom McCormick the owner of Touchstone Living says the golf course was here for 25 years and was not getting much use. He wanted to give this land a new life and they purchased it in December and have begun building a town-home development. The prices for the home range from 200,000 to 300,000 dollars a home.

"We target renters, a lot of renters are only renters because they can't become a homeowner, so we want to make homeownership possible," McCormick said.

He says these homes are designed to be cost-effective and environmentally friendly. He says the land is limited in Las Vegas and this is the best way to repurpose it.

"We need it badly and the kind of response we have heard from people; we have already had over a thousand phone calls since we put up the sign on Sunday," McCormick said.

About 15 minutes away from Royal Links Golf Club is Desert Pines Golf Club. The City of Las Vegas is planning to bring more economic development to the area by closing the golf course.

Part of the City's 2050 Master Plan is to turn this golf course into affordable housing and commercial space that looks like this. Kevin Mcginnis a Club Member says while we need the housing, he's sad to see the end of a place that created many memories for him and his family.

"There's not a lot of places like that so this is a cool spot to be and for it to go away is not a cool thing," Mcginnis said.

The City says they are still looking for developers to take on the desert pines project. developers here at royal links say they hope to have their first homeowners in later this year.

Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Two Fish, Less Fish? Save the Pupfish!

A bottomless hole, a tiny fish, and an ongoing preservation legacy that took a UNLV professor all the way to the Supreme Court and created one of North America's most important conservation sites.The late professor James Deacon's work on the Devils Hole pupfish led to a landmark Supreme Court case for environmental protections. (UNLV Libraries Special Collections & Archives)It only exists in a water-filled cavern whose bottom has never been found, a mysterious creature prowling mysterious depths.The thing is small, a...

A bottomless hole, a tiny fish, and an ongoing preservation legacy that took a UNLV professor all the way to the Supreme Court and created one of North America's most important conservation sites.

The late professor James Deacon's work on the Devils Hole pupfish led to a landmark Supreme Court case for environmental protections. (UNLV Libraries Special Collections & Archives)

It only exists in a water-filled cavern whose bottom has never been found, a mysterious creature prowling mysterious depths.

The thing is small, averaging around an inch in length — about the size of a paperclip.

It’s the world’s rarest fish, an endangered species, with only around 170 of them remaining in their natural habitat at last count in 2019.

They live in but one place on Earth: A geothermal pool in Nevada’s Amargosa Valley, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, with the heavy metal-worthy handle "Devils Hole."

Behold the Devils Hole pupfish, the thing that (probably) should not be, a luminous blue minnow whose lifespan averages between 10-12 months, which can survive in its low-oxygen waters by going hours without the stuff due to a process called paradoxical anaerobism.

“It’s a cool adaptation,” said Frank van Breukelen, professor and director of UNLV’s School of Life Sciences, who participated in the research that discovered this pupfish's unique technique. “They don’t live very long if they’re in Devils Hole, but they live long enough. Evolution was never about anything that was best, it was really about what was simply good enough.”

That this curious creature continues to chart its unique course in the animal kingdom, though, is due in large part to the efforts of another UNLV professor: renowned biologist and environmentalist James Deacon, who passed away in 2015 at age 80.

Beginning in the late ’60s, Deacon fought to preserve the Devils Hole pupfish’s only habitat, which would later become part of the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a story that encapsulates one of modernity’s great debates, as civilizations continue to expand into areas once untouched by humankind: to develop or not develop?

And at what cost?

“Devils Hole pupfish is a great example of what’s been happening over the last 50 years, really, to biodiversity on Earth,” Deacon said in a 2006 interview done by the UNLV Oral History Research Center as part of its UNLV at 50 Oral History Project. “And it will continue to be — provided it survives.”

If it wasn’t for a research project on the fish of the Southwestern United States six decades ago, the Devils Hole pupfish might not be here today.

James Deacon wrote said paper while he was a grad student at the University of Kansas, hipping him to the region. He’d then be hired at UNLV in 1960.

“As soon as I got here, I began looking around for getting a research program started, and the first place to go was Ash Meadows,” Deacon recalled in a 2008 interview for the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. “The most fascinating species was this little guy that occurred in only one place: Devils Hole.”

Why was it so fascinating?

In part large because its entire native range is confined to a single locality, the smallest range of any vertebrate, making it incredibly vulnerable to extinction. As such, it would become one of the first species protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1967.

That same year, however, cattle ranch Spring Meadows, Inc. began purchasing tracts of land in Ash Meadows.

“Spring Meadows immediately started developing their irrigated agriculture and one of the wells that they drilled was within about two feet of the 40-acre boundary of Devil’s Hole, on their land,” Deacon said in the interview. “They did a test pump, and it was as if they had a pipe directly to Devils Hole.”

In the years that followed, water levels dropped at Devils Hole, threatening its pupfish.

Deacon helped found the Desert Fishes Council, an organization formed, in part, to protect the species. In 1971, the U.S. Department of Justice took Spring Meadows Inc. to court to stop the company from using a trio of wells negatively impacting Devils Hole, eventually earning an injunction in favor of the government in 1973 as the case worked its way to the Supreme Court in 1976.

Public opinion, though, remained hotly divided on the issue.

In a scathing editorial on March 8, 1976, the Elko Daily Journal Free Press brands preservationists “ruckus-makers,” dismissing as “silly” and “insidious” their efforts to save the “tiny fish that no one can ever see.” The piece culminates by suggesting that the piscicide rotenone be used to eradicate the “problem” fish.

Nevertheless, in the landmark case Cappaert v. United States the Supreme Court upheld the injunction.

The Devil’s Hole Pupfish was saved — at least for time being.

In 1980, Ash Meadows was sold to a property development company, Preferred Equities Corp., which planned to build a large housing tract on the land.

“Preferred Equities started by saying, ‘Let’s develop this in a way that won’t do a lot of damage so that we can actually have a development,” Deacon recalled in the 2008 interview. “They asked me to help them identify some of the things that they could do, and that turned out to be just a nightmare.”

Deacon recalled a meeting with the company’s owner, who took him out in the field and boasted that he was going to build himself a house incorporating rare natural artifacts in his living room.

“This guy will never get it,” Deacon remembered thinking at the time.

But after some protected pupfish were found dead in the area, Preferred Equities was shuttered in 1982, according to The Mojave Project documentary and curatorial series.

The nonprofit group Nature Conservancy raised enough money to buy the land from Preferred Equities, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and in 1984, the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was born, which is currently home to at least two-dozen plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Including the Devils Hole Pupfish.

How many of them exist today?

The official numbers currently are unknown, as biologists have been unable to do their normal twice-a-year count due to the pandemic. In September, however, they’ll dive into Devil’s Hole once more and resume their work in the field.

The species is being maintained, in part, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ash Meadows Fish Conservation Facility, where new pupfish are born in a series of tanks, including one designed to mimic the conditions of their native habitat.

For van Breukelen, the efforts to maintain the pupfish population resonates beyond said species: In the battle to preserve Devils Hole, the Ash Meadows Refuge was created.

And so in saving the pupfish, dozens of other species have met with the same fate.

“I think the most important thing that’s happened conversation-wise is not just Devils Hole, it’s the conservation of all of Ash Meadows,” van Breukelen said. “The efforts in order to try to expand and restore Ash Meadows has been tremendous.

“Ash Meadows in the number one spot for endemism in North America," he said, referring to when a species is solely found in a single geographic region. "There’s more unique species in Ash Meadows than there are anywhere else in North America.

"That’s pretty frightening to think that that was close to being made into a housing tract.”

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.