ARE MOSQUITOES POINTLESS?

Topic: Biology - Ecology.

Fhadeea A.

Mosquitoes are insects that have lived for millions of years, specifically 100 million. As humans, we are sure that mosquitoes can be irritating. Oftentimes we just view them as annoying creatures that bites us leading to itching and bumped skin. Mosquitoes are even listed as animals who occasionally carry the most deadliest diseases, like malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, or the Zika virus. Do these animals even gain any uses towards our environment?

Of course they do serve a purpose living on this planet, just like every other creature, and here’s why:

Pollination

Firstly, mosquitos act as pollinators. Only female mosquitos feed on blood for proteins to lay eggs. Males, on the other hand, feed on plant nectar. Mosquitoes from the genus Aedes pollinate on blunt-leaved orchids (Platanthera obtusata), or small northern bog orchid.

Food Chain

Mosquitoes also serve an important part of the food chain. Because mosquitoes are apart of a stage where they were first aquatic insects, animals such as tadpoles, fishes, and other aquatic creatures do eat the larvae of a Mosquito, the most famous fish known for feeding on mosquitoes are Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis). Other insects also eat the larvae of mosquitoes, such as Dragonflies and Damselflies, although they only feed on them during their process on the aquatic stage. Adult stage mosquitoes serve a nutritious prey for Bats, birds, geckos, and spiders.

Medical purposes

Perhaps, medical purposes for the mosquito saliva can be used too. When mosquitoes suck your blood, the tiny blood vessels rupture. While your blood is being sucked by the mosquito, the mosquito pumps its saliva in, the saliva acts as reducing coagulation of blood, which prevents your tiny blood vessels to be ruptured from clotting during puncture. Some anesthetic properties of mosquito saliva have been studied and incorporated in synthetic forms into local anesthetics, used to reduce pain of a patient during medical treatment.

So what would have happen if all mosquitoes were killed? Well, we are still unsure, but most likely it would effect the process of primarily pollination in orchids, most animals that are listed above eat mosquitoes only for a small portion of their diet but can still be an important part of the food chain if their primary diet is not available. It might reduce the amount of deadly diseases that mosquitoes carry, although only few out of 3,000 species transmit the diseases.

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