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Geckos could help control mosquito-borne diseases, but their effectiveness depends on the environment.

Feb 22, 2018
The Scientist Staff

A tokay gecko (Gekko gecko)R. WETERINGS ET AL.

Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading dengue fever, malaria, West Nile virus, and a host of other dangerous diseases that cause millions of human deaths every year, and more than half the world’s population live in areas where disease-carrying mosquitoes are present. A new study in Science Advances has found that interactions between the composition of the landscape, food webs, and weather patterns all contribute to mosquito abundance. They discovered that tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) and other mosquito predators could play a role in mosquito-borne disease control. The geckos are sensitive to changes in their habitat, and the researchers suggest that “a conservation approach” to controlling mosquito-borne diseases could be useful.

R. Weterings et al, “Landscape variation influences trophic cascades in dengue vector food webs,” Sci Adv, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aap9534, 2018.

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