For years, cows and the larger agriculture industry have been blamed for the large amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Cows need to eat plenty to fill their four stomachs, which means they, well, fart a lot – producing a substantial amount of methane, which traps 28 times more heat than CO2.
But scientists at the University of Geneva, Switzerland have found a new culprit: the small fly species Chaoborus spp., also known as glassworms.
In order to move from lake-beds to the surface (where they eat), the larvae make use of methane-filled air sacs, which saves up to 80 percent of the energy they would spend wiggling themselves to the surface. After they arrive, the larvae release the gas to zoom back to the bottom. which allows the gas to enter the atmosphere.
Where water quality is poor, up to 130,000 larvae can live in a single cubic meter. The lead author of the study – Dr. Daniel F. McGinnis, Assistant Professor in Aquatic Physics – says that we can help kill off some larvae by improving water quality, treating wastewater, and monitoring agriculture.