Mosquito Fish or Gambusia and as clear from the name, these fishes help in controlling mosquitoes. It is a tiny freshwater fish silver in colour and belongs to the order Cyprinodontiformes and family Poeciliidae. Gambusia is term that originated from the world ‘gambusino’ and it means useless. However, this fish is not useless and it has proved its worth many a times at many places. This is one of the best ways of controlling mosquitoes in ponds and lakes naturally.
Here are Some Interesting Facts about this Fish
These are small and have a silvery sheen. They look dull and the females are a bit longer than their male counterparts. There is an anal fin that helps in distinguishing the females from the males. The anal fin in males are elongated and pointed while in females, it is round is shape. These fishes have the ability to change their colours slightly for matching the surrounding environment.
Mosquito Fishes are native to Indiana and Illinois to northern Mexico. The fishes flourish in the ponds and streams of these places having freshwater. This species now however, is wide spread as it has been introduced in many other parts of the world to control mosquitoes. This species can thrive in varied temperature. It can survive at temperature as high as 100o F to freezing temperatures as well.
Reproduction and Life History
The life span of these fish is about 1 year under optimum conditions. The males have a specialized reproductive fin named gonopodium and the females bear the offspring after mating. Once, the females deliver, the offspring are left alone to fend for themselves. They are left at a hiding space before they mature to survive in open water and this takes about 6 weeks. Mosquito larvae and other insect larvae are their primary source of food. Since, mosquitoes lay eggs in water that mature to grow into larvae, these become a great source of food both for the tiny and the adult fishes. They also feed on algae.
- These fishes can survive in extreme conditions like in water with high salt content or low oxygen content.
Mosquito fishes are extremely small in size and hence can easily fall prey to larger fishes. Thus, before introducing them to ponds and lakes, it is important to ensure that there are enough hideout points inside the lake. These fishes have helped eradicate malaria in many countries.