Will locally eliminating a mosquito species have unintended harmful effects on the local ecology?
There are over 3000 species of mosquito in environments ranging from the arctic to the most southern regions of the world outside of Antarctica, and approximately 800 species of mosquito have been observed in Africa. So, it is not possible to presume that there is one single answer to this question. Vector management has always been a mainstay of efforts to control malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. For gene drive technologies applied to the human malaria-transmitting mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, there are several important considerations. These mosquitoes are confined solely to the African continent. The Anopheles gambiae complex is made up of eight sibling species, of which Anopheles gambiae s.s. is one, so these make up only a small percentage of the entire African mosquito population. Ecological research on the behavior of mosquitoes and experience from long standing efforts to reduce and remove the species from environments supports the conclusion that Anopheles gambiae is not a “keystone species.” A keystone species is defined by ecologists as a species upon which an ecosystem greatly depends and whose removal will trigger a drastic change in that ecosystem.
For more information:
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.