Mosquitoes. Hordes of them, buzzing in your ear and biting incessantly, a maddening nuisance without equal. And not to mention the devastating health impacts caused by malaria, Zika virus and other pathogens they spread.
But mosquitoes have a whole other life that doesnt involve biting us it revolves around their ecological interactions with plants. We often view mosquitoes as bloodsuckers that do nothing but make our lives miserable. However, mosquitoes do have ecological functions. From pollination to ant puke, the secret life of mosquitoes is both bizarre and ecologically important.
Mosquitoes have many functions in the ecosystem that are overlooked. Indiscriminate mass elimination of mosquitoes would impact everything from pollination to biomass transfer to food webs.
There are about 3,500 mosquito species, many of which want nothing to do with biting humans or any other animal. Even in species that bite, it is only the females that do so and just to develop their eggs.
The fundamental food of all adult mosquitoes is plant sugar and its associated nutrients, most often in the form of floral nectar. In the process of looking for nectar, mosquitoes pollinate many of the flowers they visit this is one of the most commonly overlooked ecological functions of mosquitoes.
Mosquito pollination is likely far more common than we...