When I was younger I wanted mosquitoes to be wiped off the Earth. As I got older I realised that all creatures have a part to play in the ecosystem and that removing one part may cause unforeseen consequences. However, a new article in Nature has recently suggested that while the loss of the 3500 species of mosquitoes (of which only 2-300 species affect humans) may have some effect on pollination and food availability other species would quickly fill this gap. As mosquitoes are vectors of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever we might even be better off without them.
Yet in many cases, scientists acknowledge that the ecological scar left by a missing mosquito would heal quickly as the niche was filled by other organisms. Life would continue as before — or even better. When it comes to the major disease vectors, "it's difficult to see what the downside would be to removal, except for collateral damage", says insect ecologist Steven Juliano, of Illinois State University in Normal. A world without mosquitoes would be "more secure for us", says medical entomologist Carlos Brisola Marcondes from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil. "The elimination of Anopheles would be very significant for mankind."