- Stevie Bee
New dystopian nightmare: mozzies eating plastic
I've been sharing stories recently that almost seem like science fiction: Coked-up eels, shellfish on opoids, antiobiotic waste contaminating rivers and microplastics getting into sea salt. The kind of stuff stoned Hollyweird scriptwriters might pitch to studio execs hell-bent on dreaming up the next dystopian nightmare franchise to feed to teenagers. Except it's not fiction.
Here's the latest. And, in my view, this might just be the worst — so far.
Scientists have just discovered that mosquitoes are ingesting microplastic, which is then passed on to their offspring.
The research, published in Biology Letters on September 19, 2018, concludes 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,” notes Amanda Callaghan, lead researcher at the University of Reading.
In the study, researchers fed the larvae of common house mosquitoes, Culex pipiens, various sizes of fluorescent polystyrene beads and determined the plastic beads transferred into pupae and adult stages, EcoWatch reports.
“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 affect other organisms that 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.”