Although it might sound like an exaggeration, mosquitoes are probably among the deadliest animals in the world. Certain species might spread diseases which kill thousands of people every year. Thus, scientists wondered what it might happen if we lived in a world without mosquitoes.
Several mosquito species transmit diseases
Mosquitoes can either offer you an itchy bite which is not bound to bother you at all, or transmit a deadly disease. Thus, depending on the place where you live, you might be at risk of contracting a terrible illness via a mosquito bite. Since they represent such a big threat, researchers wanted to see how a world without mosquitoes would be like.
There are more than 3,500 mosquito species on this planet but, fortunately, not all are dangerous. Among those which transmit diseases there is Anopheles gambiae, which spread malaria, or Aedes aegypti, which used to spread yellow fever and, more recently, they were found responsible with transmitting Zika.
Some think exterminating mosquitoes would not affect the ecosystem
Etymologist Cameron Webb, from the University of Sydney, thinks that they only way to stay away from these diseases is exterminate all mosquitoes. It might sound like an extreme measure, but he claims that such an event will not have any serious consequences on the environment.
Many animals feed on these insects, including frogs, lizards, fish, or birds. However, they are not indispensable, as these animals also rely on other food sources. Also, scientists say that other insects would come and replace them. A study from 2010 published in the journal Nature analyzed the possibility of a world without mosquitoes.
Finding ways of protection against mosquito-borne diseases
There are some who disagree with such an extreme measure. These people claim that any other insect population which would replace mosquitoes would turn out more dangerous. Also, they say how these insects protect the rainforests in which they live. Of course, a complete disappearance of these insects would affect the environment, but scientists are still debating the possible impact of such an event.
One beneficial change which would occur with the disappearance of mosquitoes is clear. Namely, malaria and other such diseases will no longer make so many victims, among which most of them are children younger than five.
Is a world without mosquitoes safe?
So far, researchers have been trying to get rid of the disease-transmitting mosquitoes, but their methods proved costly and not so effective. However, many think that exterminating an entire species might not be the best solution to this problem.
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