Gambusia fish

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Recently, various government and non-governmental organisations in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Punjab have released Gambusia fish into local water bodies to address a mosquito menace.

About Gambusia fish

  • It is known as mosquito fish, and is widely used as a biological agent for controlling mosquito larvae.
  • It is native to the waters of the south-eastern United States.
  • It has been a part of mosquito-control strategies for over a century in various parts of the world, including India.
  • A single full-grown fish eats about 100 to 300 mosquito larvae per day.
  • Also, it has been part of various malaria control strategies in India since 1928, including the Urban Malaria Scheme.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared Gambusia one of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world. 

Key points about Malaria

  • It is a disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite.
  • The parasite can be spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
  • Transmission
    • The plasmodium parasite is spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes, which are known as "night-biting" mosquitoes because they most commonly bite between dusk and dawn.
  • Only 5 types of parasites cause malaria in humans.
    • Plasmodium falciparum – It is mainly found in Africa, it's the most common type of malaria parasite and is responsible for most malaria deaths worldwide.
    • Plasmodium vivax – It is mainly found in Asia and South America, this parasite causes milder symptoms than Plasmodium falciparum, but it can stay in the liver for up to 3 years, which can result in relapses.
    • Plasmodium ovale – fairly uncommon and usually found in West Africa, it can remain in your liver for several years without producing symptoms.
    • Plasmodium malariae –It is only found in Africa.
    • Plasmodium knowlesi – It is very rare and found in parts of Southeast Asia.

Q1) What are Invasive alien species?

Invasive alien species (IAS) are animals, plants or other organisms that are introduced into places outside their natural range, negatively impacting native biodiversity, ecosystem services or human well-being.

Source: Even after backfire, Gambusia fish remain popular to beat mosquitoes