Implications of guppy (Poecilia reticulata) life-history phenotype for mosquito control




Warbanski, Misha L.
Marques, Piatã
Frauendorf, Therese C.
Phllip, Dawn A.T.
El-Sabaawi, Rana W.

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Ecology and Evolution


Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are frequently introduced to both natural and artificial water bodies as a mosquito control. Laboratory studies have demonstrated that guppies can consume large numbers of larval mosquitoes. Our study investigates how intraspecific variability in guppy phenotype affects their importance as a mosquito biocontrol and how habitat conditions (natural ponds vs. water storage containers) may influence insect biomass and guppy feeding. Using a blocked experimental design, we established stream‐side mesocosm ponds with half receiving gravel substrate to simulate pond‐bottom habitat. To provide realistic diet choices and insect abundances, we allowed the mesocosms to colonize naturally with aquatic insect larvae for 1 month before introducing guppies. We tested two distinct guppy phenotypes (from high‐ and low‐predation streams) alongside fish‐free controls. After 1 month, we measured insect biomass in the mesocosms and examined guppy gut contents to document direct predation. While overall insect biomass was not significantly different across the three fish treatments, we observed a significant reduction in mosquito biomass in fish treatments compared to fish‐free controls, as well as intraspecific differences in feeding. Overall insect biomass was significantly higher in mesocosms without gravel, while habitat condition had no effect on mosquito biomass. As guppy phenotype responds to changes in their environments, it is an important consideration for biocontrol policy to anticipate potential ecosystem effects. We close by relating our findings to other studies and by discussing the implications and potential risks of using guppies to control mosquitoes.



biological vector control, Dengue, invasive species, mosquito-transmitted disease, Zika


Warbanski, M.L.; Marques, P.; Frauendorf, T.C.; Phillip, D.A.T.; & El-Sabaawi, R.W. (2017). Implications of guppy (Poecilia reticulata) life‐history phenotype for mosquito control. Ecology and Evolution, 7(10), 3324-3334.