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How Valuable Are Mosquitoes to the Ecosystem?

Mosquitoes, no matter how annoying they may be, are part of a viable ecosystem that has developed over the course of at least 100 million years. Although they are the most deadly insect to humans, it is also true that they are an integral part of the planet's ecology whose absence would have unknown effects. Completely wiping them off the face of the earth also brings up complex ethical issues for some people. Although many of us have contemplated a world without mosquitoes at one time or another, the actual results of this dream-come-true may not be what we had in mind!

Population Control

One of the reasons mosquitoes are so hated is also one of the reasons their eradication would have an unforeseeable effect on the world as we know it. Mosquitoes are, for better or for worse, extremely effective vectors for disease. They have been thinning animal populations for millions of years, and unfortunately, have started on the human population more recently. Without mosquitoes, the spread of many diseases would slow or stop altogether and the animal population would increase accordingly. This could result either in overpopulation or in increased sources of food for the growing number of humans. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

Food Source

Mosquitoes and mosquito larvae are a nutrient dense, reliable food source for many different creatures from fish to birds. Many of these animals evolved alongside the mosquito and thus developed unique hunting techniques specifically designed to find and capture mosquitoes. If these mosquitoes are no longer present, the animals accustomed to feeding on them will either be forced to adapt their diets to similar insects or be left without a main source of nutrition, resulting in a fall in population.

Environmental Filters

Mosquitoes provide a not-insignificant amount of water filtration that helps to keep the environment clean and unpolluted. This is because mosquito larvae grow in water and feed on the detritus and debris that floats on and clogs the surface of the water. This process prevents the detritus from choking off the nitrogen and oxygen that are necessary to the survival of the plants and animals below. Without mosquitoes present to eat away the waste, either similar insects would adapt to fill the same role, or the aquatic plants and the ecosystem they support could vanish along with the mosquito since they cannot gain access to the nutrients they need to thrive and survive.


Male mosquitoes do not feed on blood. Instead, the males survive solely on the sugars present in plant nectar. As he naturally flies from one flower to the next looking for a nice lunch, he also helps to pollinate those same plants. In subarctic climates such as those present in northern Canada and Russia, mosquitoes play a major role in plant pollination, where other pollinators, like bees, find it difficult to survive and thrive. In other regions, the mosquito is outdone by traditional pollinators like bees and butterflies when it comes to pollination. While the subsequent results of a mosquito extinction may not be felt in all areas, it would take a disproportionate toll on those in subarctic regions. There, fruits, flowers, and other crops would be hard pressed to grow- more than they already are, and the local populations may suffer famine as a result of this.