The animals of the Malaysian rainforest were in deep thought. The elder ones were frowning, and the younger ones had bewildered expressions on their faces. Everyone was talking in low voices, as if to avoid being overheard. “We have to do something about these mosquitoes”, sighed the white-handed Gibbon, who was otherwise quite cheery and playful.
Nature Narratives- 2
The animals of the Malaysian rainforest were in deep thought. The elder ones were frowning, and the younger ones had bewildered expressions on their faces. Everyone was talking in low voices, as if to avoid being overheard. “We have to do something about these mosquitoes”, sighed the white-handed Gibbon, who was otherwise quite cheery and playful. “Our young ones can’t sleep, and some of them are falling sick due to the mosquito bites,” said the Mouse Deer.
They had all gathered together at the Lion King’s den to present their grievance and consult together for a solution. Their usual meeting place was the Lake, but that was now the haunt of the mosquitoes. “The mosquito population has increased tremendously”, said the Asian elephant. “Even humans are not spared. They are all dying of a disease called Dengue spread by these Aedes mosquitoes”, said the Spot-necked Bulbul.
“I heard the humans say that they are going to raze down the forest and spray poisons on the lake to get rid of the mosquitoes!” This last sentence had a shocking effect on the audience. The younger ones started crying while the bigger animals started panicking and complaining. If the forest was lost and the lake got contaminated, they would all die. Just then, the Lion strode out, and silenced the gathering. “QUIET!” he roared. An uneasy silence ruled till the red squirrel spoke up.
We have to get rid of the mosquitoes, O King!” she said. “You know the Jungle laws squirrel”, said the Lion, “Survival of the fittest is the rule. These mosquitoes are bothersome, but they claim that they do not kill anyone intentionally. They say they are not responsible for the diseases they spread.” He turned to the Giant stick insect, “They are insects like you- your relatives.
Can’t you ask them to leave the forest?” “Why would they listen to me, O king?” replied the Giant stick insect. “If the mosquitoes don’t stop their mischief, the humans will destroy our home!” cried the leopard, “We will all die!” “I have a suggestion”, said the Asian Elephant, “I know some relatives of the mosquitoes- called the Elephant mosquitoes. They can kill these mosquitoes which are bothering us.”
“What if they joined their cousins here and started biting us?” the gibbon wanted to know. “They won’t. They feed only on plant nectar”, said the elephant. “Both the males and females?” asked the squirrel incredulously. In almost every other mosquito species, the females fed on mammalian blood, while the males fed on plant sap. “Yes. Both.” Replied the elephant. The other animals had never heard of the Elephant mosquito, but decided to go along with the Elephant, as they had no other option anyway.
The Elephant and the leopard set out to the Eastern United States to meet the King of the Elephant mosquitoes. They found him resting on a Buttercup, lazily drinking from its nectar compartments from time to time. He looked quite elegant, and nothing like the black or striped mosquitoes back home. His coat was a metallic colour, giving him the look of a warrior in armour. He patiently heard the elephant’s problem.
“What’s in it for me?” he asked finally. “Free food of course, and free shelter as well. And you get Malaysian exotic flora to suck on”, said the Elephant. “What’s the guarantee that you’ll help us?” asked the leopard, who was quite annoyed with the mosquito’s lazy attitude.The mosquito grinned lazily. “There’s no other way we’d survive, you know. Our young ones- our larvae- need protein. They get it only when they feed on other mosquito larvae. And once we are adults-- well, we survive on a carb diet.
Just juices and workouts- the secret to our perfect bodies”, he said, drawing himself up to display his ‘fabulous’ figure. “Alright then, it’s a deal”, said the Elephant who couldn’t stand the US climate any longer. “Send along your swarms with us.” And soon, the Elephant mosquito swarms invaded the forests of Malaysia. They laid eggs in the Lake, and their larvae ate up the Larvae of the Aedes mosquitoes. The Aedes mosquito population dwindled, and the humans no longer wanted to destroy the forest. Thus the Malaysian rainforest was saved.