Zika Raises the Question: Are Mosquitoes Necessary?
The insects are crucial pollinators for many plants—including orchids—and food for a range of species.
The mosquito—tiny, frail, eminently squishable, and yet capable of such destruction.
In the wake of a rapidly expanding Zika virus epidemic, many have talked of declaring war on the insect responsible for transmitting many of the world’s worst diseases. (Related: "Photos of the Desperate Effort to Control Zika Virus.")
But what would happen to the environment if—poof—all the mosquitoes simply disappeared? The short answer is no one knows.
There's no question, though, that each of the 3,500-plus mosquito species has its own role to play in nature.
Male mosquitoes, for instance, eat nectar, making some species major pollinators of plants such as some crops and flowers—even orchids.
Similarly, mosquitoes of all ages and sexes serve as an food source for all kinds of creatures, such as fish, turtles, dragonflies, migratory songbirds, and bats.
Perhaps more than any other animal, bats