Biodiversity and ecosystem risks arising from using guppies to control mosquitoes

Rana W. El-Sabaawi, Therese C. Frauendorf, Piata S. Marques, Richard A. Mackenzie, Luisa R. Manna, Rosana Mazzoni, Dawn A. T. Phillip, Misha L. Warbanski, Eugenia Zandonà


Co-authored by UWI expert Dr Dawn AT Philip of the Department of Life Science, UWI, St. Augustine this paper explores the ecosystem impact of guppies used for mosquito control and presents valuable research as the Caribbean responds to the Zika virus.

From the Abstract: Deploying mosquito predators such as the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) into bodies of water where mosquitoes breed is a common strategy for limiting the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes. Dr Philip and her co-authors draw on studies from epidemiology, conservation, ecology and evolution to show that the evidence for the effectiveness of guppies in controlling mosquitoes is weak, that the chances of accidental guppy introduction into local ecosystems are large, and that guppies can easily establish populations and damage these aquatic ecosystems. They highlight several knowledge and implementation gaps, and urge that this approach is either abandoned in favour of more effective strategies or that it is used much more rigorously. The team concludes that controlling mosquitoes does not need to come at the expense of freshwater biodiversity.

Read the full paper from Royal Society Publishing and also see this feature article in the Science magazine.

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