What are mosquitoes for?

What are mosquitoes for?
What are mosquitoes for?

What’s more unbearable than a mosquito whistling in our ears in the middle of a summer night? The bite of said mosquito that never stops itching? Hard to say. But one thing is pretty sure. Nobody likes mosquitoes. Especially since the infernal insect is also a vector of diseases. The tiger mosquito, for example, can transmit Zika virusZika virusthere dengue feverdengue fever where the chikungunyachikungunya. Millions of people are affected each year around the world. And more and more in the context of global warming and intensification of trade and tourism.

America’s first genetically modified mosquitoes take flight

So some scientists embarked on a somewhat crazy race. They hope to change the geneticgenetic disease-carrying mosquitoes – of more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, only about 200 bite humans – to sterilize males. Objective: to exhaust the species. More than 20 years ago, a biologist estimated that eradicating 30 types of mosquitoes would save the lives of a million people worldwide. All without damaging the genetic diversity of mosquitoes too much.

The role of the mosquito in ecosystems

The problem is that mosquitoes also have a role to play in our environment. Firstly because they constitute – themselves or their larvae – the breakercrustcrust many other animals. From birds to amphibiansamphibians passing by the bats, the dragonfliesdragonfliesTHE spidersspiders or even the PiscesPisces. It’s pretty well known.

What if we stopped mosquitoes by giving them an appetite suppressant?

What is probably a little less obvious is that the mosquito is also a pollinator. It feeds mainly on flower nectar. His role in mattermatter is probably not as important as that of bees or butterflies. Researchers have never really worked on the question. But still. They know that in the regions arcticarcticfor example, the mosquito is particularly valuable for the survival of certain plants.

Finally, mosquitoes in the larval state, in particular, consume microorganismsmicroorganisms which are in the water. As well as residues from other insects. Their way of making their contribution to the building of the cycle of biomassbiomassof carboncarbon and thenitrogennitrogen. Some larvae can even help filter water and avoid eutrophicationeutrophication environments that could lead to a harmful proliferation of aquatic plants.

An environment with or without mosquitoes?

Note, however, that mosquitoes are not the only ones to play these roles. Scientists therefore estimate that their disappearance would undoubtedly leave room for other insects. And as no predator depends exclusively on mosquitoes… Caution remains in order since there is currently no serious study that has looked into the real impact that the disappearance of mosquitoes could have on a ecosystemecosystem.

To avoid the risk of causing an imbalance of which scientists themselves are still unaware of the potential consequences, it is undoubtedly preferable to find ways to protect ourselves from mosquitoes rather than trying to eliminate them. For this, the recommendations are simple. Limit water sources. Because the females come to lay eggs there. And remember that it is the fertilized females that bite. Another option: make your garden attractive to mosquito predators. By placing, for example, swallow or bird nest boxes batbat.

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