According to a recently published study in the journal Conservation Biology, non-native red swamp crayfish are devastating native wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains, as well as other parts of Southern California. In the case of this study led by Gary Buccuarelli, research director of the Stunt Ranch at the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, what’s happening is that red swamp crayfish are driving out dragonflies. Dragonflies are important because they are predators for mosquito larvae. Now that they are drawn out, mosquito larvae are flourishing. While the introduction of non-native species always creates a risk of replacing native species, in the case of similar trends with red swamp crayfish across the world, there also is a potential unstudied health risk associated with this imbalance on population – mosquitoes are known to spread diseases to humans such as Zika virus, dengue, and malaria.
Read more at UCLA Newsroom.