The mosquito species Toxorhynchites rutilus is harmless to humans but is a voracious predator of other mosquitoes. Researchers in Houston, Texas, are hoping the “mosquito assassin” could be put into action as a tool for controlling mosquitoes that carry human pathogens—if they can find an efficient way to raise the predator mosquitoes in the lab.
Several emerging mosquito-management methods require the transport of mosquitoes to precise locations. There, lab-reared mosquitoes—for instance, sterilized males—mix with wild mosquitoes and hinder the population's ability to reproduce or transmit disease. But, getting mosquitoes from lab to wild presents logistical challenges. A team led by researchers at New Mexico State University are tackling this problem and have made a surprising discovery about just how tightly live mosquitoes can be packed up.
A new study of genetic samples from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from around the world finds no evidence of naturally occurring infection with Wolbachia bacteria, a positive sign for efforts that artificially introduce Wolbachia to mosquito populations to reduce their numbers or interrupt their ability to transmit disease-causing pathogens.