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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 217-225

Efficacy of indigenous larvivorous fishes against culex quinquefasciatus in the presence of alternative prey: Implications for biological control

1 Ecology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Burdwan; Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India
2 Ecology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Burdwan, India
3 Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata; Serampore College, Serampore, Hooghly, India
4 Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Gautam Aditya
Ecology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Golapbag, Burdwan–713 104
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background & objectives: Indigenous larvivorous fishes bear potential for regulating vector mosquitoes through trophic interactions. The mosquito prey preference of five indigenous larvivorous fishes in the presence of alternative food items was assessed to highlight their use in mosquito vector management. Methods: Laboratory experiments were carried out using the larvivorous fishes Ambassis (=Chanda) nama, Parambassis (=Chanda) ranga, Colisa fasciatus, Esomus danricus and Aplocheilus panchax, as predators and IV instar Culex quinquefasciatus larvae as target prey. Mosquito prey preference of these fishes in the presence of chironomid larvae, tubificid worms and artificial fish foods, in varied proportions, were assessed using preference index. Results: The fishes consumed considerable amount of mosquito larvae both in absence and presence of alternative food items. However, the positive selectivity for mosquito larvae at all densities were significantly (p <0.05) affected by the alternative foods. The chironomid larvae and tubificid worms were consumed proportionately higher than expected (p <0.05), while the artificial fish food was consumed at lower than expected proportions (p <0.05). The niche overlap was significantly similar among the fish species suggesting likeliness in predation pattern and prey preference. Interpretation & conclusion: The results reflect that the alternative food items influence the mosquito prey selectivity and thus the efficacy of indigenous larvivorous fishes. While use of these fishes in the wetlands and allied mosquito larval habitats in different parts of the country is suggested, impact of the alternative prey may affect the successful regulation of mosquitoes. Assessment of appropriate predator-prey ratio under natural habitat conditions is recommended to enhance successful mosquito control by these fishes.

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