Andhra Pradesh Government has recently released millions of Gambusia fish in water bodies in order to control malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.
What’s in News?
In the last 6 months, Andhra Pradesh witnessed 2,339 cases of dengue and 1,630 cases of malaria. In order to control these rising cases of malaria and dengue, Andhra Pradesh Government released about 10 million Gambusia Fish in water bodies in the state.
About Gambusia Fish:
- The fish belongs to a family Poeciliidae and genus Gambusia.
- The fish species shows a high breeding capacity for instance 900 and 1200 offspring could be produced during the lifespan of a single female Gambusia.
- It is also known as mosquito fish, and is widely used as a biological agent for controlling mosquito larvae.
- A single full grown fish eats about 100 to 300 mosquito larvae per day.
- It has been a part of mosquito-control strategies for over a century in various parts of the world including India.
- The International Union for Consevation of Nature declared Gambusia as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world.
- Gambusia fishes are smaller than any other freshwater fishes.
- The maximum length of Gambusia fish is up to 7 cm.
- They can survive in diverse environments.
- This species is native to the waters of the South-Eastern United States.
- Introduction of Gambusia fish can only be a part of an integrated approach that involves various other methods like chemical spraying.
- There are no conclusive studies about the effectiveness of Gambusia as a viable mosquito control.
- Not much monitoring and regulation of operations like Gambusia breeding, distribution and introduction.
- No data availability for taking remedial measures.
Historical Background for Disease Control:
- For more than 100 years, Gambusia has been used to control mosquito borne diseases like malaria and dengue.
- Gambusia fish has been a part of various malaria control diseases since 1928.
- Few reports suggested that Gambusia’s predatory efficacy is reduced in running water streams, water bodies with high insecticide and water bodies with thick vegetation.