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mistermack

What wild species would you like to see extinct ?

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The title is self explanatory.  

To me, some of the examples are obvious. The smallpox virus, the Leprosy bacterium, those parasitic worms that get inside your eyes, the syphilis bug, the world would surely be a better place without them. 

But would you let the mosquito go extinct, when so many animals eat them? Or would you just exterminate the malarial parasite? 

I personally would let the warble fly go extinct tomorrow. I'm sure others would disagree, but I can't think of any redeeming features of it. But, if you started killing off parasites, where would  you stop? I suppose all predators are sort of parasites, including us humans if you stretch the word far enough. Would the lack of misery of the victim be the difference? That's how we tend to operate. 

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Viruses are not considered to be alive, and are not classified as species. The health burden of the mentioned diseases vary vastly. Malaria, certainly up there, surpassed by a range of respiratory and digestive diseases. The latter is mostly not that critical (some somewhat costly) in developed countries. However, worldwide ca. 800-900k children die each year of diarrhea. To put in perspective, ~400k deaths are attributed to Malaria. Syphilis is a bit different, as it is more commonly to cause deaths by causing miscarriages (so it depends on which effect you are looking at). Leprosy generally does not cause death at all. 

Regarding the impact, most of these parasitic interactions (if we are talking  obligate endoparasites) are fairly specific and basically only affect their host. As a matter of fact, smallpox is virtually eradicated due to successful vaccination campaigns, but a similar success will only be possible for certain obligate parasitic bacteria. Bacteria causing diarrhea, for example live happily in the environment (such as contaminated water) and are difficult to kill. As for potential vectors, eradicating mosquitoes (and ticks) have been discussed, but I have only seen limited information on potential ecological impacts and only for a handful of systems.  

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11 hours ago, zapatos said:

In what way?

17 hours ago, CharonY said:

Viruses are not considered to be alive, and are not classified as species. The health burden of the mentioned diseases vary vastly. Malaria, certainly up there, surpassed by a range of respiratory and digestive diseases. The latter is mostly not that critical (some somewhat costly) in developed countries. However, worldwide ca. 800-900k children die each year of diarrhea. To put in perspective, ~400k deaths are attributed to Malaria. Syphilis is a bit different, as it is more commonly to cause deaths by causing miscarriages (so it depends on which effect you are looking at). Leprosy generally does not cause death at all. 

Regarding the impact, most of these parasitic interactions (if we are talking  obligate endoparasites) are fairly specific and basically only affect their host. As a matter of fact, smallpox is virtually eradicated due to successful vaccination campaigns, but a similar success will only be possible for certain obligate parasitic bacteria. Bacteria causing diarrhea, for example live happily in the environment (such as contaminated water) and are difficult to kill. As for potential vectors, eradicating mosquitoes (and ticks) have been discussed, but I have only seen limited information on potential ecological impacts and only for a handful of systems.  

what he said, also the animals that are going extinct are the animals that we are trying to protect, the animals we are trying to kill (like rats) tend to thrive.

 

Edited by dimreepr

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One possible adverse result of eliminating parasites is that it could upset the ecological balance in unforeseen ways. If you eliminated the mosquito in Alaska, you might enable Caribou populations to explode, causing over-grazing and extinctions of some of the food plants. 

I would still eliminate the Irish Midge, if I had the chance though. I owe them some retribution. And the Irish tick, they are everywhere in boggy land, and can carry some pretty nasty bacteria, if you are unlucky. They call them Skirthorns locally. I don't know if they are a sheep tick or deer tick, but they will stick into anything they can, cattle, dogs, people, and probably mice and voles, I'm betting. Horrible things. 

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On 11/11/2019 at 4:37 PM, mistermack said:

One possible adverse result of eliminating parasites is that it could upset the ecological balance in unforeseen ways. If you eliminated the mosquito in Alaska, you might enable Caribou populations to explode, causing over-grazing and extinctions of some of the food plants. 

I would still eliminate the Irish Midge, if I had the chance though. I owe them some retribution. And the Irish tick, they are everywhere in boggy land, and can carry some pretty nasty bacteria, if you are unlucky. They call them Skirthorns locally. I don't know if they are a sheep tick or deer tick, but they will stick into anything they can, cattle, dogs, people, and probably mice and voles, I'm betting. Horrible things. 

Anything that does not have consequences is nothing to worry about...;) If only...:-p 

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23 minutes ago, owatawww said:

mosquitoes 

Mosquitoes larvae are consumed by e.g. fishes. Adult mosquitoes are consumed by e.g. birds and bats. Extinction of one specie can lead to extinction of other species because natural food chain is interrupted.

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1 hour ago, owatawww said:

mosquitoes 

Also, as pointed out in the OP, it's not the Mosquitoe that kills, it's the parasite it carries. 

What about humans? Everything else seems to get along just fine until we show up and f**k it up. Having said that, the majority of people are kind and respectful, so maybe just a healthy purge instead. 🤑🥊 (joking of course)

 

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1 hour ago, owatawww said:

mosquitoes 

"Mosquitoes" is not a species. Mosquito covers about 3500 species.

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All spiders.
They give me the creepy-crawlies.

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One positive outcome of the Black Death hundreds of years ago is a more effective immune response carried in genes of the descendants of survivors.  One might speculate that despite the mass death toll of the infection, subsequent generations "died less" than would have occurred if the pandemic had been circumvented by the eradication of the responsible pathogen.

But I'd consider mosquito, housefly, tick....

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1 hour ago, Huckleberry of Yore said:

One positive outcome of the Black Death hundreds of years ago is a more effective immune response carried in genes of the descendants of survivors.  One might speculate that despite the mass death toll of the infection, subsequent generations "died less" than would have occurred if the pandemic had been circumvented by the eradication of the responsible pathogen.

But I'd consider mosquito, housefly, tick....

Would you please provide a citation? I'd like to read about that.

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4 minutes ago, Huckleberry of Yore said:

I assumed this was somewhat common knowledge.  If it is controversial or my understanding isn't backed up, I apologize.  I am not a biologist.

Maybe it is common knowledge; I'm not a biologist either. Thanks for the link.

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16 hours ago, Huckleberry of Yore said:

One positive outcome of the Black Death hundreds of years ago is a more effective immune response carried in genes of the descendants of survivors.  One might speculate that despite the mass death toll of the infection, subsequent generations "died less" than would have occurred if the pandemic had been circumvented by the eradication of the responsible pathogen.

A cautionary tale... ;)

Edited by dimreepr

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I wish we could wipe mosquitoes off the face of the Earth! If you think that I’m too much, maybe you can try to sleep in a room with a mosquito.
The high-pitched buzzing that gradually gets closer and I still don’t understand why is it so hard to spot them! Yes there will be some animals that would go hungry, but think those 1 million people that die every year because of malaria.

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8 hours ago, qidran said:

I wish we could wipe mosquitoes off the face of the Earth! If you think that I’m too much, maybe you can try to sleep in a room with a mosquito.
The high-pitched buzzing that gradually gets closer and I still don’t understand why is it so hard to spot them! Yes there will be some animals that would go hungry, but think those 1 million people that die every year because of malaria.

You want to eradicate all mosquitos because of a particular species that is responsible for malaria in humans? Seems kind of harsh.

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There's been recent success with curing the mosquitoes so they don't infect people with malaria, rather than trying to prevent people catching it. I would hope this moves the various species from the lethal category into the nuisance category, where eradication isn't an option.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 11/10/2019 at 2:50 PM, mistermack said:

The title is self explanatory.  

To me, some of the examples are obvious. The smallpox virus, the Leprosy bacterium, those parasitic worms that get inside your eyes, the syphilis bug, the world would surely be a better place without them. 

But would you let the mosquito go extinct, when so many animals eat them? Or would you just exterminate the malarial parasite? 

I personally would let the warble fly go extinct tomorrow. I'm sure others would disagree, but I can't think of any redeeming features of it. But, if you started killing off parasites, where would  you stop? I suppose all predators are sort of parasites, including us humans if you stretch the word far enough. Would the lack of misery of the victim be the difference? That's how we tend to operate. 

I disagree. If only for the reason that genomic libraries as so immensely valuable. They may have toolkits that we lack. The challenge is to keep them under control. I know it's a tall order, but it's a must. Knowledge is too precious.

Edited by joigus
mistyped

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, joigus said:

I disagree. If only for the reason that genomic libraries as so immensely valuable. They may have toolkits that we lack. The challenge is to keep them under control. I know it's a tall order, but it's a must. Knowledge is too precious.

Plus the boy mozzies are innocent.  :) More seriously, we don't know all their ecological functions is another reason.

Edited by StringJunky

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