Mosquitoes! Huh! What Are They Good For?
Scientists and researchers have presented many pros and cons regarding the existence of mosquitoes.
Do we really need them?
Watch the following video and learn how the deadliest creature on earth has beneficial effects on our ecosystem, and why we should consider all options before any effort is undertaken to completely eliminate them.
Credit: DNews ¹
Video duration: 4:39
How Do You Feel About Mosquitoes?
“Mosquitoes are considered one of the deadliest animals on earth with their ability to spread diseases far and wide but why haven’t we already eradicated these killer bugs?”
Good God, y’all.
What are they good for?
Trace here for DNews news and Natalia Reagan is back.
Natalia, how do you feel about mosquitoes?
They totally suck!
And they’re the deadliest animal in the world with at least one million people dying every year from mosquito-borne illnesses.
We are all literally itching for a solution to these flying, biting, annoying, little, disease spreading, insect jerkfaces.
But to be honest, other than their bite, most people don’t know that much about them.
There are 3,500 different species of mosquito in the world and they’re on every continent in every habitat.
They’ve evolved alongside us for a hundred million years and they bite humans but also tons of other animals.
The females are the biting ones but most mosquitoes actually just ignore humans outright.
Mosquitoes are active year-round in warmer regions and they lay their eggs in the fall in colder regions so they can hatch in the spring.
Mosquitoes have to lay their eggs in stagnant water because of a three-step maturation process.
That’s why you might associate stagnant bogs and ponds with mosquitoes.
The larvae, which is the first thing that comes out after the eggs hatch, live in water — eating microorganisms and algae.
Then they grow into a pupa, which also lives in the water, until that starts a metamorphosis, which is like a butterfly, into a flying adult mosquito up in the air.
Yep, those adults then go on to spread diseases and cause those annoying, itchy bites, ugh!
So, let’s try for a moment to imagine a world without mosquitoes.
No malaria, no yellow fever, no dengue fever, no botflies!
A world without mosquitoes sounds like it doesn’t suck, but what purpose do mosquitoes actually serve?
Don’t they have to have a purpose?
Not really, actually.
They exist because they haven’t gone extinct, yet.
But scientists say if tomorrow, they were all gone, the world would look pretty much the same. We would all move on.
Because of the economic problems that come with treating the 200 million people who get malaria every year from mosquitoes, not to mention the other diseases, people are intent on wiping them out.
But honestly, we’re just not that good at it… yet!
It’s like Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park ², ‘
scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should‘.
So, before we completely bad-mouth these vampires cloaked in exoskeletons, let’s look at how mosquitoes provide some ecosystem services.
Mosquitoes in all stages of life service as food for bats, birds, fishes, frogs, turtles, dragonflies, damselflies, spiders, and other mosquitoes, to name just a few.
In the Arctic there are swarms of mosquitoes so thick that they are said to turn the sky dark.
And some researchers say that migratory birds would stop heading to the Arctic if this buffet of bloodsuckers disappeared.
In the scientific community we can now gather mosquitoes from an area, extract the blood from its gut, sequence the DNA to see what or who was its last meal, and then we can determine what animals live in the region.
Like a bloody census!
It’s pretty awesome.
If we did erase them from existence these other species would have to find food elsewhere even though research shows that less than 1% of the diet of bats is comprised of mosquitoes, and they’re the biggest predator of these insects.
Without that biomass to eat these animals might not be smart enough to replace the food source.
And even if they were, wouldn’t they then be taking it from another species?
According to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, those tundra birds could drop by as much as 50% if the mosquitoes disappear.
Not to mention mosquitoes drink the nectar of flowers which encourages pollination, just like bees.
Mosquitoes do things, I mean, sort of.
Sure! Even so, scientists in parts of North America and Africa are moving forward with plans to annihilate mosquitoes by releasing genetically modified super sexy males using chemical pesticides or insecticide-treated bug nets to destroy them.
I kind of feel bad for the mosquito now, you know?
I mean, I feel worse about people with mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever or malaria, I mean, that’s way worse.
But, the mosquito isn’t really to blame, it’s just doing its thing.
I know, right?
It’s just nature being nature.
Hopefully, we can find a solution that lets them go on living; like infecting them with a bacteria that stops them from spreading the dengue virus.
That’s already on the table.
For more on species you didn’t know about, check out Natalia’s video from her last visit here where she reveals the truth about a newly discovered human ancestor named “Little Foot”.
Fortunately, his head is well preserved and exhibits traits that differ from A. Africanus such as larger cheek teeth, a longer, flatter face and a slight sagittal crest, or bony ridge, along the top of his head.
And, as you may have guessed, little feet.
And do you still want mosquitoes wiped out or should we keep them around?
Tell us in the comments below and thanks for watching DNews.
Come follow us on Twitter and come find me and Trace, too!
Thanks for watching, everybody!”
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² Watch the short video clip of Dr. Ian Malcolm