Cannibal mosquito offspring to feast on their cousins

July 15, 1991|By ASSOCATED PRESS

BELLE GLADE, FLA — BELLE GLADE, Fla. (AP) -- The cannibal offspring of giant Burmese mosquitoes soon will be looking for prey in empty lots and back alleys of this skeeter-plagued town on the shores of Lake Okeechobee.

L But people in the area have nothing to fear, scientists say.

The killer baby bugs have a taste for their own kind, not for human blood.

"It would be kind of horrible to release a mosquito 15 times bigger than normal and have it out biting people," said Eric Schreiber, the Panama City entomologist heading the experiment. "I imagine they'd run me out of town."

Toxorhynchites splendens, the adult Burmese mosquito that Mr. Schreiber plans to release, feeds on nectar.

But its larvae, after they hatch, will eat any other species of mosquito larvae unlucky enough to be in the same area.

A single Burmese larva can devour up to 250 of its smaller cousins.

Mr. Schreiber, who works for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, had experimented unsuccessfully with the Burmese mosquito in Tallahassee and Sarasota.

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