Mysore City Corporation has adopted a novel idea of biological control of mosquitoes using larvae-eating fishes on an experimental basis.

Thousands of newly-hatched fingerlings of Gambusia and Guppies — the larvae-eating fish — were released into Karanji, Kukkarahalli, Dalvoy, Lingambudhi and other lakes today.

Mayor Sandesh Swamy symbolically released the first batch of 15-day-old fingerlings into Karanji Lake at 9.30 am.

Kukkarahalli Lake Protection Committee Convenor Prof. K.M. Jayaramaiah, MCC Health Officer Dr. Nagaraj, officials from the Fisheries and Horticultural Department, were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Sandesh Swamy said that the biological control of mosquitoes, though not a new idea, has been adopted in city for the first time on an experimental basis.

"If found successful, it will be taken up in a more intensive manner in the coming years by the MCC," he said.

The fish grow to a maximum length of one inch and feed on live larvae that are found in stagnant water bodies.

The first three stages of mosquito larvae are aquatic and last for 5 to14 days, depending on the species and temperature. The eggs hatch to become larvae, then pupae which floats on the water surface. Adult mosquitoes emerge from the pupaeand live for 4 to 8 weeks.

To a query on the chances of survival of the fish fingerlings in the city's lakes that have plenty of aquatic animals, reptiles and birds, Assistant Director M.S. Manjeshwar told Star of Mysore that the fish were fast-breeders and directly gave birth to young ones and not laying eggs. They prefer to stay on the surface.

Manjeshwar said that the Common Carp, an edible variety that grows to more than a feet in length and feeds on insect-larvae since it is an omnivore, will be released after 15 days.

The three fishes together can control 90 per cent of the mosquito larvae, he said.

These fishes are collected in fish tanks in KRS and MCC distributes the fingerlings at People's Park opposite Sub-Urban Bus Stand in city. Citizens can obtain the fingerlings free of cost and put them in stagnant water bodies near their residences.

The Gambusia fish (Gambusia affinis) has acquired such a reputation as an eater of mosquito larvae that it has been nicknamed "Mosquito-fish."

The adults die off yearly, leaving their embryos in a state of suspended animation when water recedes. Embryos hatch in the rainy season and feed on the mosquito larvae which hatch around the same time.

The fish embryos can survive in small pools and tanks too. Once established in a particular depression, the fish will continue to come back year after year to feed on the larvae.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore