Deploying mosquito predators such as the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) into bodies of water where mosquitoes breed is a common strategy for limiting the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes. Here, we draw on studies from epidemiology, conservation, ecology and evolution to show that the evidence for the effectiveness of guppies in controlling mosquitoes is weak, that the chances of accidental guppy introduction into local ecosystems are large, and that guppies can easily establish populations and damage these aquatic ecosystems. We highlight several knowledge and implementation gaps, and urge that this approach is either abandoned in favour of more effective strategies or that it is used much more rigorously. Controlling mosquitoes does not need to come at the expense of freshwater biodiversity.
- Received July 11, 2016.
- Accepted October 4, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.