Kill All Mosquitoes

Geek Answers: Would it really be so bad if we killed all the mosquitoes?
November 2, 2016 – 06:23 am

Huge caribou herds lose millions of liters of blood to large mosquito swarms.So, again: what would be so bad about just killing the little b******s? You’d think that question would provoke outrage and backlash from the mosquito-studying community, but in recent years some high-profile mosquito experts upended that assumption. Despite lifetimes spent studying the insects, they argue that mosquitoes could be exterminated with little global impact. The animals of the world might just buy us dinner, as thanks.

How can that be? Mosquitoes represent an enormous amount of biomass on Earth.mosquitos 2 They affect the behavior of all manner of species, act as an abundant food source for insect-eaters, drive the evolution of all sorts of defense mechanisms. Yet there seems to be good evidence showing that we could easily survive their absence — in fact, we might not notice any downside at all.

If true, this fact seems to stem from the species’ small size and quick nature; even those species that eat mosquitoes generally only use them to supplement their diet. Few animals will starve as a result of the loss, and many others will live.

It’s not just the absence of disease, as arctic caribou have been shown to lose up to a third of liter of blood to mosquitoes per day — and replacing that blood surely saps the last bit of energy of some old or sickly individuals. In fact, the arctic is thought to be one of the only places that will notice the loss of the mosquito, where caribou paths dictate much about the ecosystem — caribou now walk largely into the wind to help hinder mosquito swarms.

In other places, where mosquitoes do represent seemingly necessary links in the food chain, they can simply be replaced; in many cases, there is a competitor insect that would love to move into the mosquito niche. A frog that eats 50% mosquitoes and 50% moths would love to eat 100% moths, given twice as many available to eat. But, we must admit, there are times when the math does not work out, and that the loss of mosquitoes would end in the eradication of a predator fish or bird, which would cause ripples through the local ecosystem. Still, mosquitoes don’t really control any populations, so it’s unlikely we’ll see an explosion of any dangerous species currently kept at bay by the common mozzie.

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Should we kill off all mosquitoes in the world?
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