Darwin and our pond

A little over a year ago, we converted our underused pool…

Original pool

…into a pond.


No more nasty chemicals. No more costly repairs to the pumps. In six years, I had to replace the Polaris booster pump twice and it had failed yet again before our decision to create a natural aquatic environment…one that we could still swim in.

To make sure we didn’t have any mosquito problems, we added 10 of what people call “mosquito fish” – Gambusia_affinis_01gambusia. Cute shiny things, and we were excited to see our first tiny fry.

Only, a few weeks later we learned that previously deceived owners of such not so affectionately refer to them as DAMNbusia. Those folks came to know them for the pests that they are.

We added goldfish, too, which would have managed the larva just fine, but we had to go and introduce these so-called mosquito fish. While quite small, they are aggressive and prolific breeders. Those 10 tiny fish turned into several hundreds! They make me think of Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” as he described his findings to Kirk: “The nearest thing I can figure out is they’re born pregnant, which seems to be quite a time saver. ”

So, last November, I was cleaning the filter and decided to go hunting to get rid of as many of the little gray nightmares as possible. I held the skimmer net just under the surface and when the little buggers swam over it…snap!…I’d fling them out of the pond to fertilize the landscaping. I was there for three hours and caught about 130…which in the end made no difference in the population. They still kept breeding.

After those hours of patient trapping it occurred to me that it did make a difference in the population. I was obsessed with getting rid of the fish, but those left behind had to be smarter and faster than their unfortunate comrades! I had through the process of unnatural selection improved the species.



One response to “Darwin and our pond

  1. Pingback: Darwin and our species | Random (and not) Musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s