Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Shu
Have you wondered what eats mosquitoes? Do they have natural predators? Mosquitoes are the bane of life for many of us. It is highly unlikely that there is a single person on the planet that actually likes the blood sucking pain in the back insects.
However, you will be happy to hear that these pests are actually prey animals for other animals. It is these predators that keep the mosquito problem from getting out of control.
Good news is, mosquitoes have many predators, more than you might think, and these predators collectively keep mosquito control (thank God!).
Yet, there are a few exceptions in which mosquito predators can actually have a minimal impact on reducing populations in large areas. However, it is better than nothing!
So, today, we will tell you what creatures prey on these pesky bugs. You can find out which predators are near you, keeping the populations down!
The Primary Mosquito Predators That Eat Mosquitoes
The following are the many creatures that prey on mosquitoes, there may be others, but these are the ones that are recognized as preying on mosquitos in many areas.
However, notably birds, drugs, toads, spiders, salamanders, slider turtles and more can be known for keeping populations down. Some bats might even eat more than 500 mosquitos each hour.
Sadly though, if you go for a walk in the summer, you will know that there are more mosquitos out there than their predators know what to do with.
Birds Eat Mosquitoes
There are some mosquito eating birds out there, but how many mosquitos a bird may eat… we aren’t sure.
Some have said that a purple martin can eat thousands of mosquitos each day, however, this could be wrong.
However, the birds that can and do eat them are usually migratory birds such as songbirds, swallows and so on.
The species that eat the most mosquitoes usually includes red-eyes vireos, sparrows, and purple martins, some woodpeckers, bluebirds, orioles, ducks, wrens, hawks, and warblers, among others.
All of the above will feed on both aquatic and adult mosquitos. If you put out bird seed for these birds it can bring them to you and bring out their appetite for a mosquito or two.
So, it’s an easy way to deal with too many mosquitos hanging around your yard.
There are some bats that like mosquitoes for meals, but not all consume mosquitoes. However, bats that eat can eat quite a lot in a short time.
That being said, bats are much better at finding and making a meal out of other insects, and not just mosquitos. Their diet is not reliant on them.
There are many fish that like to chow down on mosquito larvae or two. Goldfish, bass, bluegill, catfish, and guppies are some of the ones which have acquired a taste for them.
This being said, the most notable predator for mosquitoes is the Gambusia Affinis, which is known best as the mosquito fish (we wonder why), it is likely the most useful predator when it comes to catching and eating larvae of mosquitoes, and in many places they are used as a way to control mosquito populations.
Frogs And Reptiles
Both frogs and their tadpoles are natural predators of mosquitos, it’s part of their diet. Although they do not typically rely on these as a significant aspect of their diets.
This is except for 3 particular species of tadpoles in North America. These will be infrequent but significant enough mosquito predators.
These species include the giant tree frog, the spadefoot toad and the green tree frog, these will usually feed on mosquito larvae.
All being said, frogs, tadpoles and toads do often compete with the larvae of mosquitoes for food, so they do have an effect on the population of mosquitos overall.
Similarly, turtles may also eat mosquitos, not all, but the red-eared slider turtle may have a taste for mosquitos as it is thought to be the most voracious.
Dragonflies Eat Mosquitoes
Adult dragonflies are somewhat like mosquito hawks, they are known for mosquito killers, however they do not eat a significant enough amount of them to do any real damage to wild populations of mosquitoes.
The aquatic stage of mosquitos is best for dragonflies to prey upon, and so most of their food will be made up of mosquito larvae.
In comparison with dragonflies, damselflies are smaller, with bodies measuring 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Damselfly bodies are thinner like a twig as opposed to dragonfly bodies, which are thick and bulky.
A damselfly’s main food source is flying insects, they are natural enemies of mosquitoes. Sometimes they eat insects in the water, worms, and occasionally small fish in a pond.
This might sound strange, but it is not uncommon for mosquitoes to eat mosquitoes.
The genus Toxorhynchites is the most common one to be cannibalistic, during their larvae stage they will prey on other mosquito larvae.
Luckily the adults of this genus are known for not transmitting diseases.
Spiders are not inherently mosquito hunters, they do not go out of their way to catch mosquitos, but spiders will typically eat whatever flies into their web, and if they make a good enough web then a mosquito is bound to end up in it, and thus, spiders do eat mosquitoes.
Animals That Eat Mosquitoes Most Effectively
Out of all of these, fish are actually the most prominent predator mosquitoes have.
You might think that airborne predators would be better, but actually many more mosquito larvae are made lunch out of by fish than anything else.
But the most effective species that hunts them is the Gambusia Affinis (aka Western Mosquitofish), as mentioned earlier, they are aggressively on a mosquito larvae diet, and have a significant effect on the population of mosquitos.
They are considered to be a great control measure against mosquitoes as well.
However, even with all the Mosquito Fish out there, it seems there is not enough to decrease the population enough.
To Summarize On Mosquito Eaters
Mosquitoes have many predators from birds, to bats, to spiders, frogs, and fish. It is amazing that what we might consider to be the most unlikely predator is actually the most successful of all – fish.
Fish kill and eat the most mosquitoes of all of their predators, and the Mosquito Fish is notorious for this. However, mosquitoes are great at breeding and keeping their numbers high.
Perhaps we just need more mosquito eating fish out there to keep the numbers lower!