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Study Shows Common Mosquito Repellent Kills Predator

A recent study shows that a common mosquito repellent is lethal to larval salamanders. It’s an ironic twist given that larval salamanders serve as a check on these nuisance insects. And the implications go even further. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Emma Rosi, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. Rosi also is co-author of the study on these repellents. She begins with why she and her co-authors embarked upon the report.

In the salamander study, there is a question of timing – of both repellent use and amphibian reproduction — which Rosi says is key. Many amphibians breed in a single seasonal pulse, putting all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. And mosquitoes have an extended breeding season, and reproduce multiple times.

The study is published in Biology Letters

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