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Colton Christensen

Richard Winters
Biology 1010
20th April, 2015
Issue Paper
If I asked you what was responsible for more deaths than cancer, war, or even heart
disease, what would your answer be? A first response might be to say Aids or something along
those lines. You might be surprised to know that mosquitos are actually responsible for more
deaths than any of those. Today there are over 3000 species on pretty much every corner of
earth. Mosquito-borne diseases kill around one million people a year (most of them children)
and make more than 500 million people sick. Mills, Andy. That statement really leads me
into my main question. Is it okay for humans to eliminate the threat of mosquitos from the earth?
There are several concerns that formulate when you talk about completely killing off
mosquitos. How would it affect ecosystems globally? Would plants lose a pollinator? The most
harmful impact that killing of mosquitos might have is when it comes to a food source. Without
mosquitos larvae, hundreds of species of fish would have to change their feeding habits to
survive. This may sound simple, but traits such as feeding behavior are deeply imprinted,

genetically, in those fish. Fang, Janet. The mosquitofish which is a specialized predator, is so
effective at feeding on mosquitos that in rice fields and some pools of water as pest control. With
the eradication of mosquitos we run the risk if this species of fish becoming extinct which could
have a major implication up and down the food chain. Alongside the fish losing a source of food,
many species of insects, spiders, salamanders, lizards, and frogs would also lose a food source.
Mosquitos dont necessarily play a primary role in pollinating plants, but they do play a role
none the less.
What do we, as a species have to gain from the eradication of mosquitos? Malaria is the
most common, but there is a significant amount of other diseases that mosquitos spread. They
spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, rift valley fever, Chikungunya fever,
and west Nile virus. Without the worldwide spread of these diseases, we can save more than one
million lives, not to mention the amount of sickness that is being prevented from being spread.
Countries freed of their high malaria burden, for example sub-Saharan Africa, might recover the
1.3% of growth in gross domestic product that the world health organization estimates they are
cost by the disease each year, potentially accelerating their development. Fang, Janet There
would be less burden on the health system and hospitals, redirection of public-health
expenditure for vector-borne diseases control to other priority health issues, less absenteeism
from schools. Hii, Jeffrey

Based on the information provided above, in my personal opinion I find that I am


somewhere in the middle. I agree and can see both sides to this issue. At the end of the day, I
would choose to eliminate all of the mosquitos. The benefit to human life is outweighing the
ecological need of the mosquito. If we could eliminate mosquitos in certain high populated or
high issue areas that could prove to be a more beneficial middle ground.

Works Cited
Mills, Andy. "KILL 'EM ALL." Radiolab Podcast Articles. 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Fang, Janet. "Ecology: A World without Mosquitoes." Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 21
July 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Hii, Jeffrey. Quoted by Janet Fang. . "Ecology: A World without Mosquitoes." Nature.com.
Nature Publishing Group, 21 July 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.