Nature Blog Network

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mosquitos, What Good Are They Anyway?

NPR's Krulwich on Science discusses the positive marks of mosquitos with David Quammen this morning. Here is my favorite reason, go to the link above for more:

"Knowing, as we all do, that humans for eons have been moving into forests and plains and shores and river valleys and hills, pushing animals, vegetables and minerals around in their very human way, destroying more and more life forms, and knowing, as we also do, that we are down to precious few places on Earth where there is still a rich diversity of species, have you ever wondered why, even into the 21st century, there are still large tracts of equatorial rainforest that have somehow survived human exploitation?

Who or what has defended those last outposts of ferns, butterflies, beetles and ants from humankind?

Quammen says while there may be many explanations, certainly the lady mosquito deserves credit. Every time human settlers stepped into those areas in serious numbers, they got bit, then they got sick, and then, until very recently, most of them backed off.

So all you biophiliacs, tree huggers, Green Party members: If greens everywhere wanted to say thank you to one creature, one fierce defender of ecological diversity who's been willing to bite to defend her turf, they should, says Quammen, say "thanks to 10 million generations of jungle-loving, disease-bearing, blood-sucking insects" — and especially, of course, to the lady mosquito, "nature's Viet Cong."

Hat tip to Michael Barton, FCD.


  1. Skeeters: keeping Minnesota from being permanently over-run by tourists for over 100 years!

  2. We've got 'em bad up here in Alaska. About two years back, my wife and I lived in a neighborhood backed by a swampy area, and the female mosquitoes, their taste for human blood refined by generations of exposure to our middle-middle class plasma, descended en masse each and every day. Walking the dog was a deadly affair, as one risked running out of blood after forty-five minutes.

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  4. Mosquito larvae are also extremely important for aquatic ecosystems. They are prey for many types of predators such as fish, and some species prey upon other aquatic invertebrates.

  5. Mosquitoes, hate them or despise them for we all know that no one loves them - they are one of the most annoying pest

  6. I am doing a report on them so thanks for the info


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