Isn’t it remarkable how a creature so small can cause so much suffering? When we think about dangerous animals, snakes, tigers and sharkHaisharks are usually what to come to mindeinfallencome to mind. We often don’t consider tiny insects that can be to crushzerdrückencrushed between two fingers as being threatening.
But the mosquito is, in fact, the most dangerous creature on earth. These ordinary-looking insects to account for sth.für etw. verantwortlich seinaccount for around 750,000 deaths a year and are the leading cause of many lethal diseasetödliche Erkrankunglethal diseases, such as dengue, yellow fever and malaria.
However, while we might wish them gone from the planet, mosquitoes serve a wider purpose than simply to make humans suffer.
Mosquitoes are essential in helping many plants reproduce, from rare varieties of orchidOrchideeorchids to more common plant types. In certain areas of the world, such as the Arctic, mosquitoes are the primary pollinatorBestäuberpollinators.
Essential to the food chain
And there’s more to mosquitoes than pollination: if they weren’t around, our ecosystem would change entirely. When just one species disappears, it almost always has a knock-on effectDominoeffektknock-on effect. As with the rest of the animal kingdom, mosquitoes are an essential part of the food chain; they’re an important food source for many fish, reptiles and birds.
Indeed, they’re so crucial to many bird species in the Arctic tundra that these birds travel to mosquito-heavy regions every year to eat the insects that to hatchausbrütenhatch there during summer. At this time of year, these regions have the highest concentration of mosquitoes on the planet.
Mosquitoes also make up a large part of the dietErnährungdiet of certain fish species, especially the aptlytreffend, passendaptly named mosquito fish. These can consume thousands of mosquito larva (pl. larvae)Larvelarvae a day. And let’s not forget the batFledermausbats, frogs, dragonflyLibelledragonflies, birds and other fish that rely on mosquitoes as food, too.
If mosquitoes were to disappear, the animals that eat them might stop living in or visiting certain areas. So, while we relax in our gardens, thinking about how we’d like to get rid of these annoyances once and for all, I’m afraid it’s not that simple. There’s much more to the tiny mosquito than itchy bites and ruined holidays – and, as it seems they’re here to stay, we’d better learn to live with them.