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Suppose that we have the ability to make mosquitoes extinct, what would be the likely effects (on disease and ecosystems for example) of such extinction? Essentially, what roles in nature do mosquitoes perform?

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There was actually just such an article in Nature recently.

"They don't occupy an unassailable niche in the environment," says entomologist Joe Conlon, of the American Mosquito Control Association in Jacksonville, Florida. "If we eradicated them tomorrow, the ecosystems where they are active will hiccup and then get on with life. Something better or worse would take over."

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4  
Sometimes I wonder what the editors of Nature are thinking when they publish those "pearls"... – nico Jul 10 '12 at 22:20
1  
The "or worse" is all the answer you need, I guess. – Hanno Fietz Jan 4 '13 at 0:10

Eliminate Culicidae (mosquitoes) because some of the species transmit virus is a very bad idea. I have used the family name to make you realize there is more than 3500 species of mosquitoes and only a few are responsible for the transmission of disease or virus.

First, the male mosquitoes are important pollinators of multiple flowers (here is an example of some http://www.mosquitoreviews.com/mosquitoes-niche-pollinate.html ).

Secondly, mosquitoes are important food source for multiple predator such has bats, birds, frogs and fish. If you think it's negligible, just come down to Quebec in august and try to go naked in the wood you will see thousand of happy female mosquitoes on your skin in a minute.

Indeed, eliminating species because the have some consequence on humans is seeing the world as a simple thing. Ecosystem are complex and removing a group of animal will have consequences on the rest of the member of the ecosystem including us. Control of the population is a much better idea. Per example, in Montreal, the SOPFIM threat the sewer with larvicide (Methoprene) to control the mosquitoes population in the city. They also threat swamp close to the city. But the most efficient way to reduce mosquitoes population is by removing stagnant water (tires, plastic bag...). And cause of those effort,there are very few case of VNO in Montreal. So before causing to the extreme, educate the people about the biology of the mosquitoes and control the population.

Cheers

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