You finally got that mosquito that’s been buzzing around your head all afternoon. Mosquitoes and other ‘pests’ are a Biosphere summer constant – especially at dawn and dusk. They gather blood from people and other animals to feed their eggs, and in some cases can carry disease. We might be tempted to get rid of them, but did you know that mosquitoes are REALLY important to our environment? Let’s check it out!
Mosquito Life Cycle
Mosquitoes only live about two weeks, with the females feeding on blood to help grow their eggs. Male mosquitoes only feed on flower nectar, meaning they can help bees and butterflies to pollinate different plants. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant (‘non-moving’) water, such as wetlands, or shallow pools like birdbaths and buckets of water. These eggs hatch into larvae that live in the water until they’re ready to develop into adult mosquitoes.
Did you know that these larvae are called ‘wrigglers’ because of the way they wriggle around in the water? See if you can spot any this summer while you’re out exploring!
Mosquitoes in the Environment
Mosquitoes are an important food source for dozens of birds, amphibians, fish, and even other insects. Larval mosquitoes are gobbled up by fish and frogs, and adults are eaten by most flying predators. They are also an important food source for bats. In fact, in one hour a single little brown bat can eat 1000 mosquitoes! Incredible!
Mosquitoes might be a pest to people during the summer when we’re trying to enjoy the outdoors, but they support dozens of animals as a source of food in the biosphere. As bothersome as they are, they are a crucial part of our ecosystem!