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While I'm all for wiping out the race of mosquitoes, I think it's arrogant on our behalf to assume that we can just remove a species completely from an ecosystem without consequences.

If we're really lucky, the consequences will be minimal: spiders and other predators will simply find something else to eat. But if mosquitoes had some heretofore undiscovered critical purpose for the environment, we might have seriously screwed things up.




It's arrogant to assume that these species are "natural".

Aedes aegypti did not exist at all in Fresno, for example, until 2013.

These species of insects were introduced to these ecosystems. By humans. The diseases (for example, Zika) being spread now are the consequences of us introducing these mosquitoes in the first place.

https://blog.verily.com/2017/07/debug-fresno-our-first-us-fi... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109175/


That mosquito species probably spent more time in Cali than humans have spent on this planet... Let's be a bit more open/honest about the bigger (4 billion year) picture here.


> While I'm all for wiping out the race of mosquitoes, I think it's arrogant on our behalf to assume that we can just remove a species completely from an ecosystem without consequences.

You are mistaken. Not wiping out all mosquitos, just the specific aedes aegypti species from the aedes genus.


Also isn't that specie not native from a bunch of place where it currently is anyway? (at least Europe/America/Australia/Pacific islands)


> But if mosquitoes had some heretofore undiscovered critical purpose for the environment

But what if mosquitoes are actually bad for the environment? By not removing them we can be screwing things up!


The 'environment' is often in balance. Any abrupt change can cause oscillations and crashes. May as well ask "By not removing this brick from the wall, I may be screwing the wall up!"


The 'environment' is really never in balance. Predator/prey oscillations and crashes are the norm even without humans around. Maybe some ecosystems have been around long enough to have some properties of complex adaptive systems where the parts interact to keep extreme oscillations from occurring, but knowing how an ecosystem will respond to a single species disappearing is really unknowable until it happens.


Oscillations are surely the norm. But total eradication is different. It may not recover.

And it sure isn't unknowable - find what is interacting with that mosquito (something may be eating its larvae or reproducing symbiotically or parasitically etc). That dependent creature will be catastrophically affected, likely become extinct as well.


Technically, Lotka–Volterra tells us that almost no environment is in a stable equilibrium (balance).


Fine, meta-stable. :-)


Agreed; I hate mosquitoes but I worry about change amplification. How will this ripple up the food chain? I wish this article also addressed the concerns, if any, by those studying the affects.


Why do you believe that?


There's nothing stopping us from preserving enough specimens in labs around the world so that we can repopulate.

This problem has been studied: https://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/pdf/466432a.pdf


You could make the same hand-wavy "what-if" arguments about removing smallpox from the ecosystem.

Or polio.

Or malaria.


All of your examples are diseases, not creatures. I don't think they're comparable.




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