What Are Mosquitoes For - Know Their Functions

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Commonly called mosquitoes or mosquitoes, members of the taxonomic family Culicidae are one of the most abundant insects on the planet, fulfilling important ecological functions beyond the negative reputation of mosquito pests as vectors of infectious diseases. With more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes distributed throughout the planet (with the exception of Antarctica and some remote islands), it is logical to think that the role of these animals in the global ecosystem of the planet must be of great relevance.

In this interesting article by Ecologist Verde we detail each and every one of the functions of mosquitoes in the planet's ecosystems, thus answering the curious question of what are mosquitoes for.

Pollinating function of mosquitoes

When asked what mosquitoes feed on, the main answer that comes to mind is usually "from the blood of humans and other animals." However, this answer is only half true, as it is only female mosquitoes that feed on blood, thus following a diet based on hematophagy, while male mosquitoes they feed on nectar.

Thus, it is essential to highlight the pollinating function performed by male mosquitoes by feeding on the nectar of the flowers of the different ecosystems in which they inhabit, favoring the reproduction and survival of thousands of species of plants that fill with life both urban ecosystems and tropical forests in which mosquitoes abound.

We recommend you read these other articles about:

  • What is pollination and its types.
  • Importance of pollination.
  • Pollinating insects: what are they and their importance.

Balancing food chains and populations

It is the link that mosquitoes form within the food chains of the ecosystems in which they inhabit. It is an important function to maintain the balance of the trophic networks of animal species with both nocturnal and diurnal habits. Thanks to the different periods of activity of mosquitoes, from twilight and at night in most species, to the presence of some species during the day, mosquitoes become prey of numerous species of animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates, during their different feeding times.

Thus, both small mosquitoes and large mosquitoes with diurnal habits can serve as food for birds, while those other species of mosquitoes with nocturnal habits will be common prey for nocturnal animals such as bats and geckos. Furthermore, during the developmental stages in which mosquitoes live in aquatic environments, they regularly feed fish and amphibians.

They not only help keep a balance in nature in the sense that they serve as food for many species, but they also do so by being vectors of some infectious diseases through their bites, which helps to balance the populations of some species of animals; similar to the role of predators.

Decomposition of organic matter

During the life cycle of a mosquito, these amazing insects go through four stages of development: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults, in this order.

Each of these stages is carried out under certain environmental conditions, fulfilling different functions within the balance of ecosystems, including the mosquitoes' ability to break down remains of organic matter, thus favoring the recycling of nutrients and their contribution to the soil so that they can be used by plants and other organisms.

Thus, within the life cycle of mosquitoes and their decomposing function, it is worth noting how mosquito eggs, larvae and pupae develop in aquatic environments, sometimes forming a nest of mosquitoes of different sizes, while organisms in the adult state They live in terrestrial and aerial environments, thanks to their ability to fly.

What if there were no mosquitoes

Now that we have discovered what mosquitoes are for in the ecosystem, it is important to highlight how their absence would have direct and indirect consequences for the proper development and survival of thousands of species, including humans.

Thanks to the benefits of mosquitoes, such as the pollination of plants and the balance of food chains that we have described previously, human beings have more prosperous environments, with the consequent stability of the planet.

Thus, although on many occasions we think that it would be good for mosquitoes to disappear, mainly those species vectors of infectious diseases, the reality is that the role of mosquitoes in the regulation of animal and plant populations it is much more essential at the level of nature and the balance of the entire planet.

With all this, it is essential to put our coexistence with mosquitoes instead of exterminating them, thus opting for measures such as the use of natural mosquito repellants that protect us from their possible bites and transmission of diseases, while keeping them alive and allowing them to continue fulfilling their very important ecological functions.

If you want to read more articles similar to What are mosquitoes for?, we recommend that you enter our category of Animal Curiosities.

  • Valenzuela, A. (03/15/2016) This would be a world without mosquitoes. El Mundo newspaper. Recovered from: https://www.elmundo.es/papel/todologia/2016/03/14/56e693a8ca474137788b45ea.html
  • Drafting EFEverde (06/06/2017) The prevention, "present and future" of strategy against pests according to ANECPLA. EFE: green, pest control. Retrieved from: https://www.efeverde.com/noticias/la-prevencion-presente-futuro-estrategia-plagas-segun-anecpla/
  • Editorial team (11/29/2010) Globalized bites. National Geographic: Nature & Health. Recovered from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com.es/naturaleza/picaturas-globalizadas_3453
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