What’s the point of mosquitoes?​

    Spotlight 11/2022
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    Von Roxanne Pratley​

    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 crushzerdrücken​crushed 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 sein​account for around 750,000 deaths a year and are the leading cause of many lethal diseasetödliche Erkrankung​lethal 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.​

    Primary pollinators​

    That annoying, high-pitched buzzSummen, Sirren​buzz has been the cause of many a ruined summer evening. But mosquitoes play a crucialwesentlich​crucial role in to maintain(aufrecht)erhalten​maintaining the ecosystem. Their primary food sourceQuellesource is, like that of bees, nectar, not blood. It’s only the females that bite us, while they’re hunting for nutrientNährstoff​nutrients to develop their eggs, and it’s our body’s response to their salivaSpeichel, Spucke​saliva that causes that terrible itchJuckreiz​itch.

    Mosquitoes are essential in helping many plants reproduce, from rare varieties of orchidOrchidee​orchids to more common plant types. In certain areas of the world, such as the Arctic, mosquitoes are the primary pollinatorBestäuber​pollinators.​

    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, passend​aptly named mosquito fish. These can consume thousands of mosquito larva (pl. larvae)Larvelarvae a day. And let’s not forget the batFledermausbats, frogs, dragonflyLibelle​dragonflies, 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.​

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