©loaexperts2012 - flickr

©loaexperts2012 – flickr

This is simply too weird, but it seems that a specific type of fish is being used in California to assist authorities in keeping abandoned, foreclosed homes from turning into breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying malaria or West Nile Virus. Where both swimming pools and foreclosure are common, the danger arises of the pools being left full or filling over time with rainwater and becoming standing pools of mosquito-infested water.Treehugger.com states that, “The swimming pools of abandoned homes are perfect mosquito breeding grounds, there are worries about rampant West Nile Virus infections. In California, authorities are using airplanes to find green pools and are filling them with the Gambusia affinis, or mosquito fish, which eats the larvae.”

The numerous articles on this so-called “foreclosure fish” are fascinating, although the little mosquito-hunter also has problems of its own: “In most cases they ate local wildlife in addition to mosquito larvae, and often didn’t even do a better job of mosquito control than local fish were already doing.” Maybe if the fish are confined only to the pools of abandoned homes, this issue would be taken care of?

In any event, the real life foreclosure fish story is also reminiscent of the “Bart the Mother” episode of The Simpsons, when lizards that eat birds are first feared and then perceived to be a help after destroying the town’s pigeon population.

Skinner: Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.
Lisa: But isn’t that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we’re overrun by lizards?
Skinner: No problem. We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They’ll wipe out the lizards.
Lisa: But aren’t the snakes even worse?
Skinner: Yes, but we’re prepared for that. We’ve lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.
Lisa: But then we’re stuck with gorillas!
Skinner: No, that’s the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

Here are some of the articles that the above quotes from news stories were taken from:
www.conservationmagazine.org/articles/v9n4/foreclosure-fish/
www.treehugger.com/files/2008/06/the-forclosure-fish.php
www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2008/06/foreclosure-fish.html

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