7 Amazing Mosquito-Eating Creatures


Mosquitoes have been extending their range, bringing dangerous diseases with them. Here’s how to put the bite on the biters before they put the bite on YOU!

Mosquitofish



Gambusia is a large genus of fish found mainly in Mexico, Texas and the Greater Antilles. Of the approximately 40 species within the genus, Gambusia affinis and Gambusia holbrooki are perhaps the best known – they’re referred to non-taxonomically as the Western and Eastern Mosquitofish. When introduced into ponds, these aggressive fish enjoy eating mosquito eggs and larvae but there’s a downside: their hunger extends to the eggs and larvae of other, often beneficial insects and amphibians.

Dragonflies



Dragonflies (and their smaller cousins, the damselflies) are the mosquito’s worst nightmare – their nymphs prey on mosquito larvae in ponds and waterways while adults snap up fully-grown mosquitoes on the wing. If your yard boasts a small pond free of fish, then encouraging dragonflies to colonize it will help keep the environs mosquito-free. Be aware, however, that purchased dragonflies are often not native to your region and introducing them could interfere with local ecosystems.

Purple Martins



Purple Martins are North America’s largest swallow and can be found in temperate regions across the continent. Encourage these agile and acrobatic birds to make your yard their home by installing a dedicated artificial martin house or do as Native Americans have traditionally done and  provide one or more hollowed-out gourds for the birds to nest in. One caveat, however, is that while Purple Martins are efficient insectivores with prodigious appetites, studies have shown that mosquitoes comprise only about one percent of their diet.

Killifish



Killifish… what an awesomely descriptive name! The Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) is a species of temperate freshwater killifish native to the northeastern United States and neighboring areas of Canada. Killifish enjoy eating mosquito larvae and often travel in small schools, thus multiplying their mosquito-controlling abilities. While they prefer fresh water, killifish can also thrive in brackish standing water notorious for being the prime breeding places of mosquitoes.

Bats



Holy calamine lotion, Batman! Our small, furry, flying friends have lost most of their scary vampire stigma and these days are seen as a beneficial creature thanks to their diet of mosquitoes and other insects. While setting up a bat house is a good thing in general, the sheer volume of bats in even a small colony should work wonders in reducing local mosquito populations. One bonus is their insectivorous diet provides gardeners with a valuable natural fertilizer, bat guano!   

Anti-Mosquito Mushrooms




A 1981 study found that a certain type of fungi named Entomophthora culicis is toxic to most mosquitoes and other two-winged (dipteran) flying insects. The spores of this fungi act as parasites to the insects, weakening them and impairing their ability to fly and otherwise function. Though the day when we can purchase and propagate actual “anti-mosquito mushrooms” is yet to arrive, one would hope scientists and entomologists can work together to make it happen.

Elephant Mosquitoes



Talk about fighting fire with fire! So-called Elephant Mosquitoes of the genus Toxorhynchites are among the world’s largest mosquitoes. Thankfully they do not require blood to nurture their eggs, being vegetarian sap-suckers and nectar-eaters instead. Elephant Mosquitoes are carnivorous when in the larval stage, however, and have been seen to eat from 10 to 20 larvae of competing mosquito species per day. Your neighbors may raise an eyebrow should you tell them you’re adding Elephant Mosquito eggs to the local park pond, mind you.


The World’s Largest Super Collider Lies Abandoned


Designed to break records held by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the Superconducting Super Collider built (and abandoned) in Texas features fourteen miles of unseen and unused underground tunnels.




Construction on what was to be the largest particle accelerator in the world started in the early 1980s but funding cuts in the early 1990s caused the entire project to be shut down. By that time, billions of dollars were already spent and the expected tag had tripled from 4 to 12 billion, 17 shafts were dug and 14 miles of tunnel excavated (out of a total of 51 planned).




Located on a site near Waxahachie, Texas (south of Dallas, shown on a map below) without existing tunnels (which helped in the building of the LHC), removing millions of tons of soil proved to be a budget-breaking expense for the SSC. The complex has since gained the apt nickname ‘Desertron’ for obvious reasons.



Except for underground generators, most of the major machinery was removed from the site before it was deed to the local county, which in turn sold it to a private corporation planning to turn it into a data center. With an independent power grid and dedicated fiber optic line it seemed like a good fit, but when its would-be developer died in an accident the plans were scrapped. Since then it has remained empty, but has again been purchased, this time by a chemical company.




Many factors have been cited as contributors to its abandonment, including the end of the Cold War with Russia and the comparable amounts being budgeted for the United States’ contribution to the International Space Station – at the time, it seemed to many to that spending as much on the SSC as the ISS would be folly (images via Jim Merithew, AmusingPlanet, Wired and Wikipedia).



Topographic Tables: 12 Terrain-Inspired Furniture Designs


Meandering rivers, icebergs and a deep blue abyss are invoked in layers of blue-green glass, burled wood and cast concrete and translated into tables. Ranging from self-taught artists crafting each piece by hand to high-end designers using precision laser-cutting machinery, these three sculptors and furniture makers take inspiration from the natural world to make practical pieces that mimic topography.

River Collection by Greg Klassen



The naturally wavy edges of discarded lumber, considered too imperfect for standard usage in construction and furniture, are aligned just right and joined with strips of pale blue-green glass to become watery landscapes.


Taking inspiration from the beautiful natural scenery of his home in the Pacific Northwest, theologist-turned-furniture-maker Greg Klassen sources his wood at construction sites and from fallen trees in the forest. “I Love the idea of taken a discarded tree and giving it a new life,” he says.


“The collection is inspired by the exciting edges and vivid grains found in the trees sustainably taken from the banks of the Nooksack River that twists below my studio.”



Designs include the striking River Console, with its undulating ribbon of water, the Pond Table carved from a massive maple trunk, and Folded River, an asymmetrical L-shaped design in which the glass trails down one side.

Broken Liquid: Glass Sculptures by Ben Young



The deep teal waves of the ocean are evoked when one sheet of barely blue-tinted glass is laid atop another in succession. Self-taught artist, surfer and boat builder Ben Young was “inspired to capture the perfection and raw power of the sea and of the perfect wave.”


Having grown up in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand and currently residing in Sydney, Australia, Young has plenty of stunning scenery to draw from. Each sculpture is hand-drawn, hand-cut and handcrafted layer upon layer without the use of any high-tech equipment.


Some pieces are made of nothing but glass while others, like the New Lands and Fjord tables, are combined with cast concrete to create more complex and literal landscapes.


“I love watching the two dimensional shapes evolve into three-dimensional creations and the different way the light plays inside the glass. I love the liquid qualities the glass brings with it. It enables me to play with lighting and watch the glass react.”

The Abyss by Duffy London



Noting that staggered layers of glass sheets produce the effect of gazing down into the sea, designer Christopher Duffy of Duffy London envisioned an oceanic topography that steps from shallow sandy seashore into a deep blue abyss.
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“I wanted to use this effect to replicate a real piece of the earth’s sea bed,” he says. “Like a mythical power had lifted a perfect rectangle straight from the earth’s crust to use as his personal ornament.”

Duffy’s design team spent a year experimenting in their London studio with sculpted glass, Perspex and wood arranged in a 3D representation of a geological map.

The outer edges of the wood are sculpted as well, making the table truly feel as if it were cut from the earth and miniaturized for the viewer’s pleasure.





 
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