Andhra Pradesh Releases Millions of Gambusia Fish to Combat Malaria and Dengue Outbreaks

In an earnest endeavor to curtail the outbreaks of malaria and dengue, the Andhra Pradesh Government has recently released approximately 10 million Gambusia fish into water bodies across the state. The introduction of these mosquito-eating fish is part of a larger integrated approach, which also involves chemical spraying and other methods. Gambusia, commonly known as mosquito fish, belongs to the Poeciliidae family and the Gambusia genus. Its prolific breeding capacity is evident, as a single female Gambusia can produce between 900 and 1200 offspring during her lifespan.

Widely recognized for their mosquito larvae-controlling abilities, each full-grown Gambusia fish can consume about 100 to 300 mosquito larvae daily. This small freshwater fish species has been an essential component of mosquito-control strategies worldwide for more than a century, with India being no exception.

However, despite its longstanding use, there are certain limitations to consider. Reports suggest that the predatory effectiveness of Gambusia is diminished in running water streams, water bodies with high insecticide presence, and those with dense vegetation. As such, its suitability in specific environments needs to be carefully assessed.

Moreover, there is a lack of conclusive studies about the overall effectiveness of Gambusia as a viable mosquito control measure. Adequate monitoring and regulation of Gambusia breeding, distribution, and introduction are also essential to ensure its positive impact and prevent potential ecological imbalances.

Despite these challenges, Gambusia has been an integral part of malaria and dengue control strategies since 1928, consistently serving as an ally in the battle against mosquito-borne diseases. Originating from the waters of the South-Eastern United States, these small fish species have adapted well to diverse environments and can survive in various water bodies, making them a valuable asset in the fight against malaria and dengue outbreaks.