- Consider the statistics: Mosquito-borne diseases kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. Malaria alone claims the lives of 6 million people per decade, mostly small children. The economic costs are similarly staggering, likely in the tens of billions of dollars every year. When researchers totaled up the losses caused by a single mosquito-related illness (dengue fever) in a single mosquito-ridden country (Brazil), it came out to $1.35 billion annually, not including the $1 billion that must be spent to control the spread of dengue-infected flies.
- Let’s imagine, for a second, that we could totally eliminate a species of mosquito—or even all 3,500 species that flit about on Earth. Would the global ecosystem shatter?
The honest answer is that no one really knows for sure. There’s little evidence, though, that mosquitoes form a crucial link in any food chain, or that their niche could not be filled by something else. When science journalist Janet Fang spun out this thought experiment for Nature in 2010, she concluded that “life would continue as before—or even better.” I arrived at the same answer when I looked into the same question for a piece published three years later. “There’s no food chain that we know of where mosquitoes are an inevitable link in a crucial process,” one mosquito-control expert told me.
thenewgreen's post got me thinking, and started a spirited debate started on my floor about eradicating mosquitoes. What do you guys think? Too extreme? A reasonable response?