Published on: January 23, 2024



NEWS – The recent use of Mosquitofish has led these fishes becoming invasive in India


  • Often used in mosquito control programs due to their voracious appetite for mosquito larvae
  • Native to the freshwater streams, rivers, and ponds of the southeastern United States and parts of Central America
  • The coloration is usually olive-brown to gray, and the females tend to be larger and more robust than males
  • Give birth to live, free-swimming young instead of laying eggs
  • While Gambusia fish are effective in mosquito control, their introduction to new ecosystems has sometimes led to unintended consequences. In some cases, they have been considered invasive species, negatively impacting native fish populations and ecosystems
  • Introduced in 1928
  • Techniques followed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)


  • Authors of Ashoka university recently investigated the diversity of haplotypes and genotypes within Gambusia species in India
  • Widespread distribution of G. holbrooki and, to a lesser extent, G. affinis
  • Wildlife biologists and conservationists consider mosquitofish to be among the hundred most detrimental invasive alien species
  • These fish also have voracious feeding habits and have demonstrated aggressive behaviour in habitats to which they are introduced
  • Studies conducted in other countries have consistently revealed the harmful consequences of the presence of Gambusia in water bodies.
  • For example, in Australia, introduced mosquitofish have led to the local extinction of the red-finned blue-eye (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis), an endemic fish species. They have also been observed preying on the eggs and larvae of native fish and frogs
  • For these reasons, the World Health Organisation stopped recommending Gambusia as a mosquito control agent in 1982
  • In 2018, the National Biodiversity Authority of the Government of India also designated G. affinis and G. holbrooki as invasive alien species


  • National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC) – of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare must remove the display a recommendation on its website for the use of Gambusia and Poecilia (guppy) fishes to manage mosquitoes
  • For effective mosquito control, alternatives to Gambusia should come from local solutions. Experts have suggested a collaboration between mosquito biologists/entomologists, invasion ecologists, and fish taxonomists, with a focus on river basins