On Mosquitoes (Thank you, Mr. Clemens)

Dear Reader,

I am in possession of an inquiry from a northern correspondent who asks what the purpose of the mosquito is. (I am trying to fit in its scientific name which is Diptera but I haven’t quite figured that out. Oh, wait. I just did). As I  know that the question  weighs heavily on her mind, and that she has, without doubt, lost sleep over the issue, I will endeavor to answer as fully as I can. God forbid, there are enough unanswerable questions that all of us have to deal with. It may be that I can allay the curiosity of one soul and so improve her life.

Madam,

Thank you for your question. In response, I have done considerable research on the subject, mostly from the 1989 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia that occupies the lower end of my book shelf. In the pages of the “M” book, there is to be found a lengthy discussion beginning on page 830 and proceeding on to page 834. It is a longer dissertation than I would expect but, there it is. I am left to wonder at the character of the writer who assembled this verbiage – must not have much of a social life.

After careful research on this member of the insect world, I have, I think, rightly deduced that the mosquito has two assignments in the natural order of things.

The first few lines of my ever present encyclopedia reveals that he has the assigned task of spreading various maladies among those of us who occupy the human race. I might add that this insect is highly accomplished at this task and is able to do so without inflicting the disease upon his own body. He is the absolute master at inflicting such sicknesses as malaria, encephalitis, something called filariasis and yellow fever. You remember yellow fever don’t you? Just about every jungle movie ever made has had at least one sufferer. They must keep a couple of mosquitoes around just for those movie scenes. Anyway….not all of them have a job inflicting us so it is not always easy to tell which is just hanging around and which is on a deadly mission.

The mosquitoes’ second purpose is, oddly enough, to be one of the primary food sources for animals such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and the odd cat. I wonder how these animals are able to tell the difference between a non-venomous and a venomous “skeeter.” (Southern US term for the mosquito).   If I have done my research correctly, they are able to eat these insects without regard to whether a particular mosquito is diseased or not. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that we humans can get yellow fever and animals cannot. Just doesn’t seem right to me. Rules are rules though and they cannot be broken, so far as I can tell.

Dear friend, I know that you are considerable vexed by the presence of these malevolent beasts and that you have taken a notion to move so as to avoid their attacks. Let me tell  you that these creatures exist all over the world so cannot be escaped. Even relocation to the arctic regions will not prevent exposure. There is hope though! In a recent interview, you lamented to me the rather large population of bullfrogs in residence on your property. It will be a comfort to your family to know that bullfrogs are one of the primary consumers of mosquitoes. The nosiness of these amphibians that you so strongly bemoan is their celebratory song employed when they are full of mosquitoes. I hope you will take comfort in that knowledge.

There you have it. Dear reader, I hope I have sufficiently answered your query and, in so doing, given some cessation to your anxieties. If you are of a mind to do your own research, you are welcome to borrow my encyclopedia on the condition that it be returned in reasonable condition and within a short time.

I remain respectfully yours,

Scott

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