Date: June 2008
What is the true purpose of the mosquito? Do they help us in
any way, or are they just a pest?
In terms of science, I suggest you think of life from a different
angle. Organisms that can successfully live and reproduce are still
around. Those that can't are extinct. The purpose of *all* life is to
reproduce (if it weren't, the species would become extinct).
Mosquitoes have been successful at avoiding extinction so far. They
probably are not too concerned with their usefulness to humans.
Hope this helps,
I know how annoying mosquitoes can be. Right now I can't walk 10
yards into my yard without being attacked by many mosqitoes.
Mosquitoes are part of vast food webs. The females need blood to feed
their eggs. Humans make easy prey for mosquitoes because we smell so
good to them. Mosquitoes eat from plants. Mosquito eggs are food to
crayfish, dragonflies and frogs. Flying mosquitoes are food for
frogs, bats and birds, especially purple martins.
So you see mosquitoes are part of a network -- they eat plants,
deposit eggs and become food. That is the cycle of life.
In the bigger scheme of things, mosquitoes help keep ecosystems
balanced by transmitting diseases. Diseased animals are easier for
carnivores to capture and disease keeps the numbers of certain
animals from getting too large for the food supply. That seems kind
of cold, but that is the way it is.
Of course, if you are getting bitten, get malaria or your flock of
animals is dying from disease, mosquitoes are a real pest.
I hope you think carefully about this question. What is the purpose of
anything, including people?
To try to answer your question, I don't know of any "help" mosquitoes give
people, and some species spread disease to people, making them serious pests.
But in the bigger picture, mosquitoes are part of many food chains, they are
an important part of the web of life, just like all the millions of other
plants and animals.
This quote from Jeffrey A. Lockwood, a scientist who studies grasshoppers,
might shed some light on the question:
"And so, in answering the polite and honest question, "What is a grasshopper
good for?".... my answer is that a grasshopper isn't good for anything. Its
presence is of no significance -- an ultimate zero. Its value is in being a
grasshopper, nothing more. The grasshopper just is. And that is enough."
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Update: June 2012