Unusual: 3 Good Sides Of Mosquitoes.
When people clap their hands upon seeing a mosquito, it is never to applaud it. And yet, this flying insect of the order Diptera is not without its usefulness in nature and for scientists. We invite you to discover 3 good sides of mosquitoes that you may not suspect!
1- They provide food for many species.
With their annoying buzzing and potentially disease-carrying stings, mosquitoes are among the most disliked insects...
And yet, like all living species, they have their place and usefulness in nature. The first positive aspect of mosquitoes is that they are an essential link in the food chain.
Many animals contributing to the biodiversity of our planet feed on these flying insects or their larvae, including:
Furthermore, if you think that no species exclusively depends on mosquitoes for their food and that the disappearance of this insect would not have an impact on other animals, you are mistaken!
The disappearance of mosquitoes could have a negative impact on the population of certain birds, especially in the Arctic tundra where migratory birds feed exclusively on these insects.
2- They are pollinating insects.
We talk a lot about the importance of saving bees to ensure crop pollination. However, we know less that mosquitoes are also part of the pollinating insects!
Contrary to what we imagine, mosquitoes are not just blood-thirsty vampires. They also feed on plant nectar and contribute to pollination to a lesser extent compared to butterflies and bees.
In some regions of the world, mosquitoes are the exclusive pollinators of cocoa trees: a strong argument to make people love this insect a little more, especially chocolate lovers!
Whether you like chocolate or not, remember above all that insects (which often evoke fear and disgust) are essential for the survival of ecosystems on Earth. Animal and nature lovers too often forget that insects are part of it...
3- They can be of service to science.
If mosquitoes have such a bad reputation among humans, it is mainly because their bite is a vector for serious and sometimes deadly diseases.
The tiger mosquito in particular is responsible for the transmission of several pathogens:
• Zika virus
• Dengue virus
• Chikungunya virus
As for other species, they can transmit malaria and yellow fever in tropical regions, West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis... It cannot be denied that mosquitoes are an important vector of diseases. But did you know that scientists have come up with the idea of using them to participate in the eradication of these diseases?
In 2018, a team of researchers released tens of thousands of sterile tiger mosquitoes in Brazil using an automated drone. The goal of this operation was to fertilize as many females (the only ones that bite and transmit diseases) as possible to make their eggs non-viable. This experiment yielded very good results as three releases of sterile mosquitoes resulted in over 50% sterile eggs.
In Japan, researchers from Nagoya University believe that mosquitoes could assist forensic work! They have discovered that it is possible to identify DNA present in blood ingested by a mosquito up to 48 hours after the bite. In the future, mosquitoes could therefore help identify who was at the scene of a crime and provide sufficient DNA evidence to convict the culprit.
Good to know
In the large family of dipterans, not all are to be feared! Out of the 3500 existing species, only 200 can sting humans.
It should also be noted that only female mosquitoes sting... out of maternal instinct! They find in the blood of their victims the essential amino acids necessary for the maturation of their eggs before laying.
If all these arguments have not been enough to convince you to love mosquitoes a little more, know that Israeli researchers are developing a new mosquito repellent that can prevent at least 80% of bites.
The commercialization of this revolutionary product, expected in 2024, suggests a world where humans and mosquitoes could finally coexist peacefully.