Toxorhynchites-splendens or Elephant mosquitoe
Dengue in Sri Lanka has spread rapidly and has turned out to be a severe threat to its people. It is reported that nearly 70,000 cases have been detected so far all over the island and it has reached to a deadly disaster with 210 deaths reported within the first half of 2017. A number of methods to fight dengue have been proposed, the government is also playing an active role but we are yet to find a productive and effective solution to eradicate the dengue killer. In this regard the Medical Research Institute (MRI) with its expertise knowledge has discovered a way to fight back dengue which is increasing at a dangerous rate.
It is absolutely commendable that the Entomology Unit of the Medical Research Institute (MRI) has been able to introduce a new larva for tackling the spread of dengue after having gone through a lot of hard work and research procedures. The Medical Research Institute is the premier centre in the country for bio-medical and applied health research. MRI conducts research in diverse areas in the fields of Virology, Bacteriology, Parasitlogy, Rabies, Nutrition, Biochemistry, Histo-Pathology, Hematology, Immunology, Entomology, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Mycology, Health Informatics and Animal Studies. MRI is also a major service provider for all hospitals in Sri Lanka with special and specific analytic laboratory tests.
"MRI conducts research in diverse areas in the fields of Virology, Bacteriology, Parasitlogy, Rabies, Nutrition, Biochemistry, Histo-Pathology, Hematology, Immunology, Entomology, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Mycology etc"
We are delighted to mention that the newly introduced larva called Toxorhynchites splendens is the end result of the dedication, hard work and research conducted with the head of Dr. Sagarika Samarasinghe. She told Daily Mirror that the newly introduced larva was identified in 1911 in the world and used by the different countries to control the spread of dengue with different success
Dr. Samarasinghe said, “The group headed by me started the establishing of Toxorhynchites splendens colony in 2016. This is a tough research and therefore we can’t do it overnight. We have released these larvae to the environment several times without publishing about it. We further expect to make measures to get these larvae adapted to the urban areas.”
The group established Toxorhynchites splendens colony in 2016.
We have released these larvae to the environment several times without publishing about it.
We further expect to make measures to get these larvae adapted to the urban areas
"We are delighted to mention that the newly introduced larva called Toxorhynchites splendens is the end result of the dedication, hard work and research"
The place where the matured larvae are reared.
Toxorhynchites splendens is around 19mm long and Bluish-white metallic colour with a lifespan of 3 months. They mainly suck honey and plant juice. These larvae do not suck blood as their Proboscis has bent 90. backwards. Therefore, no harm would cause to the humans. Their larva stage lasts for 5 weeks and this may exceed in cold climates.
These larvae who are in the 4th stage can consume 350-400 dengue larvae during their larvae stage and those who are in the stages of 1, 2 and 3 can consume more than 100. These species are much bigger than the ordinary mosquitoes and they are also called “elephant mosquito”, or “mosquito eater”. It is crucial to mention that these larvae are not herbivorous but carnivorous. These mosquitoes lay their eggs when they fly. Hence, they can lay their eggs in places where we can’t reach and they can consume dengue larvae in the hidden places.” She said.
In conclusion, Dr. Samarasinghe categorically emphasized not to depend on this method alone as it would not be sufficient to wholly eliminate the dengue killer. Besides, she invited the general public to render their aid in every possible occasion so that this will not be a challenge to put an end to this issue.
Newly introduced larva called Toxorhynchites splendens