What Is Unique About Cuatro Ciénegas?

Poza Azul wetland in Cuatro Ciénegas, Mexico.
Poza Azul wetland in Cuatro Ciénegas, Mexico.

Cuatro Ciénegas is a Mexican city located in the state of Coahuila. The city is located in the desert at an elevation of 2,430 feet above sea level. The town is the administrative center of Cuatrociénegas Municipality. Cuatro Ciénegas was chosen as a biological reserve because of the unique plant, and animal life found there. 

Unique Flora and Fauna

The Mexican government estimates that there are about 150 species of plants and animals endemic to the area. Several turtle species are found in the area such as the Coahuilan box turtle and the Cuatro Ciénegas slider both of which are endemic to the region. The Coahuilan box turtle spends almost 90% of its entire life in water. Researchers believe that it is closely related to the common box turtle. Cuatro Ciénegas is also home to several species of fish such as the Cuatrociénegas gambusia, Minckley's cichlid, and the Tufa darter. The Minckley's cichlid is a variety of fish that was named after Wendell Minckley, one of the most well-known ichthyologists in the world. The Tufa darter is a type of fish that can grow up to 1.5 inches in length. Another popular species found in Cuatro Ciénegas is the golden tegu which is commonly referred to as the black tegu. The golden tegu is a type of lizard that can grow up to a length of 3 feet.

Sand Dunes

Cuatro Ciénegas is also unique because of the Gypsum Dunes located close to the region. The sand dunes cover an area of three square miles and are made up of crystallized calcium sulfate. The sand dunes are Mexico's largest as well as the third largest in North and South America. The sand in the area forms unique structures such as the Castle which is popular among photographers.

Poza Azul

Another unique feature in Cuatro Ciénegas is the Poza Azul an important wetland that is protected by the Mexican government. There are several photography exhibitions in the area detailing the unique array of wildlife in the area. The area also has several viewing platforms which allow visitors to view the area's wildlife.

Conservation of Cuatro Ciénegas

Several organizations are involved in conserving Cuatro Ciénegas such as Pronatura Noreste which owns a reserve in the area known as Pozas Azules. The organization is primarily involved in the conservation of local species such as the stromatolites. Pronatura Noreste also works to eliminate invasive species from the region.


More in Environment