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AUJA – What’s the Point of Mosquitos?

March 17, 2014

Uncle John knows pretty much everything—and for what he doesn’t know, he has a massive research library. So go ahead: in the comments below, ask Uncle John anything. (And if we answer your question sometime, we’ll send you a free book!)

What purpose do mosquitos serve?

What’s the point of mosquitos? They bite. They suck blood. They spread disease. So what’s the point of mosquitos anyway? Those things are the point.

Mosquitos spread viruses and parasites through the animal kingdom (not counting humans). That naturally helps control the population of animals, keeping ecological balances in check.

Sure, it’s definitely a problem when they throw off the ecological balances of humans by spreading horrible diseases like dengue fever, West Nile virus, malaria, and yellow fever. But mosquitos aren’t in and of themselves filthy, disease-carrying creatures. They spread pathogens, but have to feed on an infected animal to get that pathogen. Studies show that mosquito colonies that live entirely in a pond and feed off algae and bacteria and don’t interact with humans (other than those researchers of course) carry no infectious disease.

And while you probably know that a lot of animals eat insects, it’s somewhat surprising that mosquitos are part of the food chain. Fish and predatory insects eat mosquito larvae. Living things such as bats, birds, dragonflies, and spiders eat the flying, or adult version of mosquitos.

Mosquitos are the deadliest and most annoying insects on earth, but if you eliminated them, it would cause far-reaching havoc on the planet’s fragile ecosystem, right? Not necessarily. In 2010, Nature writer Janet Fang asked this question to a number of scientists. While a sudden lack of mosquitos would kill off the food source for a number of birds in the Arctic tundra – and thus those Arctic birds – other scientists theorize that another, less disease-spreading insect species would eventually fill the hole left by mosquitos.

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Franklin Bouman
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Franklin Bouman

OK, Uncle John–what is the weight of a single paper money bill and how many bills would it take to make a ton of money? How wealthy would one be if they were all $100 bills? Or twenties?

Seth Cates
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Seth Cates

Have we ever discovered any kind of life on anything other than the earth?

Leandra
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Leandra

So……then we should kill em all, right?

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