Who would miss Mosquitoes?
The idea of killing off an entire Family of insects seems wrong on its face, because historically when a species becomes extinct, it seems to negatively affect other species in the food web. But what about mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes have been around for 100 million years as evidenced by trapped-in-amber specimens in the fossil record, so it’s doubtful that mere humans even could eradicate them. I imagine it’s likelier and less expensive to send a human to the edge of the solar system and back than to kill every last mosquito without also doing serious harm to other inhabitants of the ecosystem. Who would miss them? It seems to depend on who you ask.
Facebook Conversation about Bedbugs
I started wondering if these bloodsucking bugs exist just because they’ve found a niche they can exploit, or if they are really important to ecosystems.
Mosquitoes can make up enormous biomass in places like the Arctic, possible enough to be seriously missed by fish and migrating birds that eat the mosquito and its larvae. But maybe other insects would quickly step up to fill the void?
Mosquitoes also pollinate a lot of species of plants. What would step up and start fertilizing these plants if they were suddenly gone? We’ve had problems with large portions of the bee population suddenly dying out in recent years, maybe these good pollinators would have more trouble filling the niche.
Mosquito borne illness is a serious problem around the globe. “Worldwide, over one million people die each year due to mosquito-borne diseases, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa” according to the CDC.
If there were no mosquitoes, many millions of dollars in aid & philanthropic funds could be diverted toward other important humanitarian efforts instead of buying netting and related vaccines.
Law of Unintended Consequences
DDT used to be sprayed/fogged everywhere. It was the miracle pesticide that was “Safe enough to eat!” Or so we thought. After years of its widespread use, scientists began to understand that it did have negative environmental effects, most famously: it thinned Bald Eagle shells so that less birds were born, leading to the eagle becoming an endangered species.
What I’m getting at is: If we even should, how could we eradicate trillions of mosquitoes to the point of extinction without poisoning our environment and killing other lifeforms in the process?
Kids fogged with DDT while eating [VIDEO]
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