The family Culicidae, which contains over 3,600 species of tiny flies, includes a group of insects known as mosquitoes (or mosquitoes) (from the Latin culex meaning “gnat”). The Spanish and Portuguese words “mosquito” and “mosquitito” both mean “small fly.” Mosquitoes have three pairs of long, hair-like legs, a slender, segmented body, one pair of wings, one pair of halteres, and extended mouthparts.
Most species’ adult females have mouthparts that resemble tubes (called a proboscis) and can puncture a host’s skin in order to feed on blood, which carries the protein and iron needed to make eggs. Numerous vertebrate hosts, such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even fish, as well as a few invertebrate hosts, predominantly other arthropods, are the blood sources for thousands of mosquito species.
MOSQUITOES’ MYSTERIOUS INSTINCT FOR SURVIVAL
When the air temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius, mosquitoes cannot survive or function normally (50 degrees Fahrenheit). They are most active between 15 and 25 °C (60–80 degrees Fahrenheit).
With the exception of Antarctica, mosquitoes have evolved to dwell on every continent and have done so for more than 100 million years. Yet why? Species that are unable to meet the needs of their environment or serve a wider ecological function eventually succumb to the rule of the jungle because Mother Nature can be brutal and is not a friend to the useless or the weak.
And yet, these bothersome bloodsuckers have managed to survive the cut out of all the animals that have faced extinction. What are mosquitoes useful for? Well, now let’s put aside our human preconceptions for a moment? What function, specifically, do mosquitoes perform? That will not stop us from talking about their disadvantages as revealed below.
DISADVANTAGES OF MOSQUITOES
During the bite, the mosquito’s saliva is transmitted to the host and may result in an itchiness. Many species can also spread infections to new hosts by ingesting them through their bites. In this approach, mosquitoes play a significant role in the transmission of arboviral diseases including yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile, dengue fever, and Zika as well as parasitic diseases like malaria and filariasis. More people than any other animal taxon die each year from diseases spread by mosquitoes, approximately 700,000. It has been asserted that diseases spread by mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths of nearly half of all people who have ever lived. However, more cautious estimates place the death toll closer to 5% of all humans (higher than the 700,000 on records).
ADVANTAGES OF MOSQUITOES IN NATURE
1. Some Animals Eat Mosquitoes as Food:
There are four phases in the life cycle of a mosquito: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. On the water’s surface, eggs are placed; after hatching, they develop into larvae that move around and consume organic matter and aquatic algae. Numerous freshwater creatures, including many fish, some birds like ducks, and dragonfly nymphs, rely on these larvae as a major source of food. Some insects-eating animals, such as bats and spiders also consume adult mosquitoes. In wetlands, mosquito larvae ingest a lot of organic matter, which aids in the ecosystem’s nutrient cycling.
2. Mosquitoes Control Some Animal Population:
Mosquitoes transmitting diseases are also a natural way of keeping the population of the animals they infect (including humans) in check. The good news is, not all deadly diseases like HIV, etc. can be transmitted by mosquitoes. For those of you who may think otherwise about this, rapid population growth continues to create an explosive situation, which has led to overcrowding, destitution (resulting to poaching, which negatively impact the ecosystem), and pollution (nature’s nightmare enemy). Human population, specifically, has outstripped increases in food production, and population pressure has led to the overuse of arable land and its destruction – in a few years time, humans; due to their increasing population, might be forced to occupy the habitats of wildlife (forests and even the undersea) and there would be no home for other species of creatures or even where to plant crops, trees, and food in the far future, though. And, nature has her way of fixing that, like she had it coming, hence the preservation of these bloodsucking and fatal-disease transmitting insects; mosquitoes, from extinction through ages.
3. Mosquitoes are Pollinators:
In actuality, mosquitoes prefer floral nectar to blood as their main food source. Mosquitoes spread pollen from flower to bloom while they consume nectar, just like bees or butterflies do. This fertilization helps plants create seeds and multiply. Only after mating does a female mosquito go for a blood meal to provide the protein for her eggs. Males never bite and simply consume flower nectar.
They therefore have a function and are here to stay.
CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF IN ANY WAY?
It is OK to take precautions to lower the mosquito population near your home. Just be cautious when carrying it out. The best thing you can do to protect your family and yourself against mosquitoes, though, is to stay informed and be ready.
Avoid using pesticides, whether you buy them yourself or use one of the several residential mosquito spray businesses that have popped up in recent years.
Bees, butterflies, and other species, such as songbirds, that depend on insects for sustenance may suffer significantly as a result of these broad-spectrum insecticide treatments. These sprays also aim at adult mosquitoes, which is not the best strategy for lowering populations.
Instead, keep your environment clean, seal your home, and avoid keeping your doors open if you discover that mosquitoes are in your neighbourhood. A clean environment (lacking dirty little water holes and dirty gutters or waterways) is the best method of controlling larvae; sprays are not necessary for this.