New study finds mosquitoes could spread microplastics

A new study concluded that "plastic is contaminating almost every corner of the environment and its ecosystems."

Image Credit: Felipe Dana/AP

Scientists just discovered that mosquitoes, who ingested bits of plastic, is transferred between the insects life stages. The research was published in the journal, Biology Letters, on Wednesday and concluded that “plastic is contaminating almost every corner of the environment and its ecosystems.”

“Much recent attention has been given to the plastics polluting our oceans, but this research reveals it is also in our skies,” Amanda Callaghan, lead researcher at the University of Reading said.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers who fed the larvae of common house mosquitoes, or Culex pipiens, various size of fluorescent polystyrene beads and determined that the plastic beads transferred into pupae and adult stages, EcoWatch reported.

“Larvae are filter feeders that waft little combs towards their mouths, so they can’t actually distinguish between a bit of plastic and a bit of food,” Callaghan said. “They eat algae, which are more or less the same size as these microplastics.”

The study concludes that plastics might soon have an affect on other ecosystems who eat mosquitoes.

“The implication is that you can have plastics at the bottom of the pond that are now going up into the air and being eaten by spiders and bats and animals that normally wouldn’t have access to that plastic,” Callaghan said. “You could have a dragonfly, for example, eating mosquitoes as they are emerging – so it could be eating lots of mosquitoes with plastic in them, and then a bird could be eating that and getting an even bigger dose.”


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