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Mosquitos and why

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In summer, we are visited by many little creatures that come with the heat and the new plants that sprout from the ground. One such creature is the mosquito, which has been frustrating me for many years of my life. I always wondered what exactly the mosquito did when it bit me and exactly why they bite people in the first place. 

First, perhaps it is important to talk about what mosquitos actually are. Mosquitos are actually a subspecies of small flies, only one species of about 3500 species within the Culicidae. This is probably evident in the name ‘mosquito’ which derives from the Spanish words ‘mosca’ and ‘ito’, which together means ‘little fly’. The life cycle of the mosquito consists of four stages; egg, larva, pupa and adult. Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of bodies of water, which hatch into larvae that feed on the aquatic vegetation such as algae and other organic materials. Though these creatures seem ever abundant in the world around us, at this stage, the mosquitos have very many predators who rely on these creatures as a source of nutrients. Such animals include dragonfly nymphs, fish and some birds such as ducks. The mosquito is important for the diet of each and every one of these creatures and their continued survival. The adult females are the only ones with the capabilities for sucking blood, a proboscis, capable of breaking the skin and sucking the blood that contains the protein and iron needed for them to create their eggs. Mosquitos do not only feed on humans but also vertebrates and invertebrates, which usually does not harm the victim.

The cause of the irritation that is often found when a mosquito bites is actually because the mosquito may actually leave saliva under the skins of the people they bite. Their saliva, however, can cause more than just a mild irritation if the mosquito in question happens to be a vector for dangerous disease. The most well-known infection that is caused by mosquitos transferring it to humans brings is Malaria, although mosquitos can also transmit filariasis and encephalitis. Still, because they are a reliable source of nutrients for a large number of animals in many different ecosystems, from birds to frogs and even fish, they are actually really important to maintaining balance. Plus, human beings are rarely ever the first choice of meal for an adult mosquito, who usually choose to feast on horses, birds and cattle rather than people. Should Global Warming continue at the rate it is going, there will likely be more mosquitos around than there ever have been before. 

The world is filled with many creatures that we may see as unnecessary. But look a little deeper, just below the surface, we may look to see more worth in these creatures than we can see simply by looking at them. Instead of looking at just the effect that they have on us, we should instead focus on the values and positives that they provide to the world.

Sources

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