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A world without mosquitoes

What would happen if there were no mosquitoes in our world? Jittawadee Murphy, who has been researching Anopheles mosquitoes for the past 20 years from the research institute in Silver Springs, says plainly that our world would be a better place without the stinging nuisances

A female mosquito of the species Culiseta longiareolata. Photo: from Wikipedia
A female mosquito of the species Culiseta longiareolata. Photo: from Wikipedia

As I wrote a long time ago, as everyone knows, one of the nuisances that comes in the summer is the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are a nuisance that is sometimes hard to bear, anyone who has spent time near bodies of water knows the annoying buzzing that is followed by a bite.

We are not the only ones who are bothered by mosquitoes, many mammals suffer from the bites and there are also those who have developed methods to get rid of the nuisance, whether by running away to a place where a strong wind blows, by entering water and even by applying leaves whose sting repels the stinging insect. In North America (the continent), the mosquitoes create swarms that cover many square kilometers to the point of darkening daylight, and in the summer season the swarms attack the herds of caribou (elk) and force them to leave green pastures and move to dry areas. As the global climate warms, the mosquitoes penetrate higher and more northern areas and are disturbing even in areas that were not vulnerable until now.

But above all, some of the mosquito species carry and spread severe and deadly diseases and epidemics: malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, West Nile fever, valley fever, yellow fever.... These are just some of the diseases that mosquitoes spread around the world, the expenses for searching for and creating medicines and vaccines reach tens of billions, as do the expenses for repellents, nets, sprays and pest control methods.

After the difficult description, the question arises, what would happen if there were no mosquitoes in our world? Jittawadee Murphy, who has been researching Anopheles mosquitoes for the past 20 years from the research institute in Silver Springs, says plainly that our world would be a better place without the stinging nuisances. There are many good partners in her opinion, entomologists, zoologists and ecologists.

Today, science knows about 3,500 species of mosquitoes, of which (only) hundreds are biting and annoying. Mosquitoes live on almost all continents in a wide variety of habitats and some of them play important roles in environmental systems (ecosystems), mosquitoes exist For more than 100 million years and their development parallels that of many species, it is possible that their disappearance will cause a shortage for those who are used to devouring mosquitoes or will occasionally lack pollinators for unique plants.

Despite the continuous attempts to eradicate the carriers of the malicious diseases, a world without mosquitoes (at least until today) is an imaginary scientific exercise. The writers of the well-known and important monthly Nature are researchers who deal with the biology and ecology of mosquitoes. What would happen if there were no mosquitoes? Will anyone miss them?

In many cases there is agreement that the fear of the lack that will be caused to the environment due to the disappearance of mosquitoes is not significant since the niche that will be emptied will soon be filled by other species according to the insect ecologist Steven Juliano, "Life will go on and maybe even be better since it is difficult to see the lack in the disappearance of such malicious disease carriers, the entomologist Carlos Brisola Marcondes says that "a world without mosquitoes will be safer for us - the elimination of Anopheles will be very significant for humanity".
The entomologist Daniel Strickman repeats and mentions the swarms of mosquitoes in the northern circle that cause damage to the caribou herds and explains that "after the snow melts and the mosquitoes hatch, their swarms constitute one of the largest concentrations of biomass in the world, according to him "if there was an advantage in the presence of mosquitoes we would find a way to take advantage of it, we want nothing From the mosquitoes, just let them disappear." Strickman goes on to say that "the environmental impact of a world without mosquitoes would be a world with more people" considering the economic results of the diseases spread by mosquitoes, few scientists think that the population growth as a result of the elimination of the diseases will outweigh the advantage of a healthy population.

Although there are thousands of mosquito species that pollinate flowers, most of the flowers are also pollinated by other creatures. In many of the mosquito species, the females bite to obtain from the blood the proteins needed to create the eggs. If mosquitoes had an advantage, there would be a way to use it for the benefit of humanity(?)

A different opinion is expressed by the entomologist Bruce Harrison who believes that the amount of migratory birds that breed in the tundra will decrease by 50% without mosquitoes that are food for them. To his death, Cathy Curby, a wildlife biologist, claims that "in the stomachs of the nesting birds in the northern circle, not many mosquitoes were found and most of their food is biting," in her opinion, "people exaggerate the amount of mosquitoes because mosquitoes are attracted to people."
But not only for people, it turns out that each caribou moose "contributes" about 300 milliliters (a large glass) of blood to mosquitoes every day, the caribou herds that change their movement route because of the clouds of mosquitoes create environmental conditions - trampling the ground, eating lichens, transporting nutrients (excretions), "feeding" wolves, all of these constitute important environmental activities that without the mosquitoes would doubtless have occurred. That is why there are those who think that in the northern circle mosquitoes have such an important role that if they disappear... their absence will be felt.

Aquatic entomologist Richard Merritt says that "mosquitoes are tasty and easy to obtain food", "without mosquito larvae hundreds of fish species will have to change their diet to survive". Hunting and eating customs are embedded in fish, for example (the mosquito fish) the gambosia is known as a skilled predator of mosquito larvae and as such is used in water bodies for pest control, the gambosia as well as other fish will be harmed by the mosquito larvae, an injury that will affect the food chain.
Many other species such as: spiders, salamanders, frogs, lizards, will work as an important source of food, let's mention the The research on platelets in the Camargue In which the environmental role of mosquitoes became clear.

Most of the respondents think that: In the case of the mosquito damsels, it must be assumed that most of the mosquito-eating fish and birds will "learn" to prey on other insects that appear and fill the niche - since every (biological) space fills up over time, other insect-eaters will not lack the mosquitoes that fill only a tiny part of their diet, for example Mosquitoes are only 2% of the diet of bats, when there are many other options for insectivores, the lack of mosquitoes will not be felt and there is no evidence that their absence will harm the environment.

The mosquito larvae make up a significant part of the biomass in water bodies, puddles, lakes, holes in trees, streams and even old tires, there are puddles on the plains where the larvae are so dense that their movement causes waves, their food is organic rot and tiny creatures. The question arises, will there be other "filter eaters" without mosquito larvae?
And the answer is that there are many creatures that process rot and filter the water, so here too there will be those who will fill the place of the mosquito larvae... they will not be lacking. A good reason for the inventions of mosquitoes exists in the "environmental services" they provide. Ecologist Dina Fonseca compares mosquitoes to the stinging midges from the ceratopogonids family whose bites transmit viral diseases, transmit worm eggs and fungal spores. There is no doubt that the bitten would be happy to get rid of the nuisance, but they will be shaken by the pollen of equatorial plant species, some of which are also important to the stings, such as cacao.

Will a world without stir fry be a world without chocolate? The ecologist Phil Lounibos claims that the elimination of one species of mosquito will not prevent the spread of diseases because according to him the causes of the diseases will "learn" to help other species, but what if there are no other species of mosquitoes? According to him, it is possible that other insects will play the stinging role!

After all, it seems that there are few things that mosquitoes do that other creatures don't do better - with the exception of sucking blood and transmitting disease. Eliminating mosquitoes will save many lives, free countries from the heavy burden of malaria and other types of fever and thus allow for a better quality of life,

Most of the respondents take the position that: "If the mosquitoes disappeared tomorrow, the environment in which they were active will belch, life will go on and something good or bad will take their place." in the natural environment" and does not plead in favor of the mosquitoes, the elimination of mosquitoes from our world is not a moral or environmental problem but a practical one.
Therefore a world without mosquitoes? not soon. And so while humanity leads to the destruction of beneficial species: tuna fish, forests, coral reefs, while humanity "succeeds" in changing the order of Genesis, while humanity puts the existence of the natural environment on the brink of destruction...attempts to rescue the mosquitos are doomed to failure.

27 תגובות

  1. I do not know with anyone who really knows all the meanings of the extinction of mosquitoes. But, you have to remember that mosquitoes are a big family, and not all types are harmful, or even annoying.
    Therefore - there is no need or interest in exterminating all types of mosquitoes, if such a step is considered at all.

  2. The mosquito is a landscape template of his homeland. It reflects the ills in the person's environment and thus gives an indication of what needs to be improved in the environment without the need for an examination under the cover of darkness. He is the messenger of nature.

  3. Very interesting what you wrote! In short, they were here, they will be here and it is impossible to make them disappear.

  4. Something else in response to 21:
    I just now noticed the final part of that comment.
    It may be that, for you, the phrase "play with God" signifies some taboo or boundary line that must not be crossed. For me, as a person who does not believe in the existence of God, this means nothing.
    I don't know if you know how many species have already been destroyed and how many of them have been destroyed by man, but these are very large numbers and it happened - not because we played God but because we didn't think about the issue at all and left the work to God.
    There were also disease-causing species that we deliberately exterminated - and only good came of it.
    On the other hand, we have recently also been dealing with species conservation.
    Is this also "playing God" that should not be done?
    We even fantasize about restoring extinct species. Regarding this activity, there will certainly be those who will claim that it is playing with God, but I don't think that a serious person can take this sentence of rebuke seriously.
    We must consider every step we take - whether it is species conservation, whether it is the extinction of species, whether it is the restoration of species, or whether it is crossing a road in all seriousness, check its possible consequences and act on the conclusions.

  5. 21:
    There is a contradiction in your words due to the fact that you are not clear on the definition of the term "good".

    You say "I am a good father if I can ensure the existence of my children and even more of my grandchildren, every step I take today that endangers the future is bad."

    This is when you previously proposed that all human beings be exterminated or voluntarily exterminated (and let me remind you - this includes your descendants as well).

    There is no objective definition of good and bad.
    The whole definition comes from our feeling.
    That's why most of us "know" that it is bad to kill other human beings, but only some of us feel that it is bad to kill animals as well.
    Everything is based on subjective feelings which fortunately - due to the fact that we are all the result of the same evolutionary process - are similar in all of us.
    Because of the extensive similarities between us, we manage to reach an agreement, but we must not forget that this agreement is not based on any truth that is external to the person, but only on what is common to most people.

    Therefore, from our point of view, the terms "good" and "bad" have almost no meaning in a world without humans.

    We can only talk about these terms in a world that has humans and the elimination of humans will also eliminate these terms as we perceive them.

    On occasion - if you wish - I can expand on the question of why I qualified my words and wrote "almost" in the sentence before the previous one, but expanding on this matter in the current response will only obscure the picture.

  6. To 15
    Even the "experts" have a thought, otherwise who needs their thoughts, the fact is that there are "experts" who, based on the same facts, disagree with them and come to the opposite conclusion.
    To 13
    What is "good" or "better", the question of the questions. Humans murdered and were murdered, empires rose and fell and everyone wanted to market their good that they believed in so much.
    Defining the good is like playing God and therefore so dangerous.
    But I will try carefully.
    I am a good father if I can ensure the existence of my children and even more of my grandchildren, every step I take today that endangers the future is bad. Everything that aims at "sustainable" is right and good, everything that aims at eternity is good.
    The world during the time of the dinosaurs was not good enough, the fact is that they became extinct.
    Is the world today good or bad?
    Unfortunately it depends on us.
    The "good" that comes from the narrow angle of the cancer cell is ridiculous "the mosquitoes prevent us from reproducing faster
    Come and destroy them too"
    What if I don't play God?

  7. I wonder if anyone noticed the secret I hid in comment 13.
    This is related to what Daniel said in response 16.

  8. I would like to "participate" in the aforementioned scientific experiment and say that there is a fundamental error in this article: it could certainly be that if the mosquitoes disappeared all their immediate functions would be fulfilled in one way or another. The simplification comes from the consideration of the immediate functions and ignoring the additional circuits of the functions.

    For example, if there are no mosquitoes, the birds that feed on them will be able to eat other flying insects, but it is possible that those insects do not have the reproduction capacity of the mosquitoes (they did not need it until now) and therefore they will decrease and you have the beginning of a chain of breaking the balance.

  9. They were here before us.
    No Laifife opinions but there is nothing to be done, the world belongs to them too and we will have to learn to get along with them...

  10. I belong to the mosquito-loving school - their advantage outweighs their disadvantage.
    The problem is with those artificial breeding grounds (sewage treatment plants, polluted streams, urban drains, excess irrigation and much more) that serve as fertile ground for mosquitoes, with almost no natural enemies. In these places the mosquitoes are really unnecessary and are an environmental problem.
    The efforts should be invested in controlling mosquito populations and not in their extinction.

  11. to anonymous 5:
    you first. I actually love humans - especially human females. I wouldn't want a world without them...

  12. Male gorillas (as fin-backs) clap their fists on their chests to indicate presence,
    Male wildebeests are dying, dogs are barking... And are there also those who "react"? ,
    When a survey is published in which experts participate, they "respond" that this is their way of declaring their presence and scribble nonsense... along the lines of "I think that" or based on "personal feeling" and information from unknown sources... Why? A "discussion" develops that turns into a deaf conversation between which the subject of the article has... Yuk!
    So even if there are objective responses, they work in the tangle of unnecessary words... too bad!

  13. Nothing is created for nothing, everything has a place.. If the mosquitoes were to disappear, nature would be out of balance and this would be felt in all kinds of unpleasant phenomena in humanity..

  14. 12:
    I have no idea what you said about cancer and forward thinking. The world is not dying, but even if it is -
    I also don't believe you when you talk about a "better" world without you.
    What do you think is "good" and what is "better"?
    And if you think the world will be better without you - what are you waiting for?

  15. To 8
    Of course the reaction is not appropriate for a cancer cell in the stage of uncontrolled proliferation when the host is still
    Breathing, but to the stage when he is already snoring and dying and the broken cell already sees its end as well.
    We can predict some half step forward, can't we?
    So yes, I give up the ability to "think" in advance, this is the small sacrifice for a "better" world without me.

  16. Even those with low IQ and high testosterone bother me.
    Can we get rid of them first?

  17. Nimrod:
    Is there any evidence for your claim?
    I would love to see them.
    When the mosquito is heavier it needs more wing movements to fly rather than less.
    Maybe he really hums less for one reason or another but it's not because he's gotten heavier.
    As mentioned - I would love to see the source of your claim.

    Moti Shay:
    What vaccine are you talking about?
    If it is a vaccine against the diseases carried by mosquitoes, then without mosquitoes there is no need for it.
    In general - even when there are mosquitoes - the vaccine is created by the one who gets the disease, so it is not clear what advantage you see in this.

    Anonymous (5):
    In a world without humans you wouldn't think like that (or at all).

  18. Moti
    2 million a year just from malaria, this is little compared to 7 billion in the world.
    But against most other perspectives, I'm not sure it's much.

  19. In my opinion, it is possible that the natural environment will be harmed.
    There is no person who has not been bitten by mosquitoes, few get sick and die, beyond that I think that mosquitoes are a more decisive factor in vaccinating animals than harming them.
    Even if we do a mass vaccination, there will be those who will be hurt, but the result is generally better.
    Therefore in my opinion, with all the harassment of mosquito bites, all animals (including cows and sheep and wild animals) are more vaccinated.

  20. I love fixers like least learn to read before you share your wisdom, write in the paragraph "annoying hum followed by the sting".

  21. A small correction... at the beginning of the article something was written about buzzing after being stung..

    The buzzing mosquitoes are those with an empty stomach, before the bite, and because they are light, they reach a high wing flapping speed, which creates the buzzing.. After the bite, the mosquito is heavier and flies slower and buzzes less (if not at all).

  22. There is a project in the Middle Arava in the Measles R&D area that deals, among other things, with the biological control of mosquitoes. Perhaps it is worth noting this as well from an Israeli point of view in general, and the appropriateness of the square in particular.

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