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Family Culicidae - Mosquitoes

mitchellii - Wyeomyia mitchellii - female Ochlerotatus cantator - male Mosquito - Culiseta inornata - female Mosquito? - Culex tarsalis - female Mosquito - Anopheles punctipennis - female Mosquito Asian Tiger Mosquito - Aedes albopictus Biting Mosquito - Psorophora cyanescens - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Nematocera" (Non-Brachycera))
Infraorder Culicomorpha (Mosquitoes and Midges)
Family Culicidae (Mosquitoes)
Other Common Names
wigglers (larvae), tumblers (pupae)
Pronunciation
kyoo-LISS-ih-dee
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
World Mosquito Classification(s) - Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, Sept 2013 (PDF)
"Traditional" mosquito classification as of 2000. Derived from Knight & Stone (1977) and supplements.
"New" mosquito classification. Classification of Tribe Aedini is also reflected in Reinert et al. (2009) and in Harbach's Valid Species list (1)
Explanation of Names
culex - Latin for 'gnat' (2)
mosquito - Spanish for 'small fly'
Numbers
~150 spp. in 12 genera in our area(3), ca. 3500 spp. in 44 genera and 145 subgenera worldwide, arranged in 2 subfamilies(1) [many subgenera, esp. in the Aedini, are often treated as separate genera -- cf.(4)]
Size
3-15 mm
Identification
Wings with scales on veins and along margins; legs and proboscis long; antennae with 6 or more segments, plumose on males and short-haired on females
keys to N. Amer. spp. in (5)
Identification Guide to 37 Common Mosquitoes of Florida - Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (6)
PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO COMMON MOSQUITOES OF FLORIDA (PDF) - Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (6)
Photos of Common Galveston County Mosquitoes - Galveston County Mosquito Control, Texas
Range
Cosmopolitan
New Jersey's 63 Mosquitoes - Rutgers (includes some species accounts)
Texas' 86 Mosquitoes - Fournier et al. 1989. Medical Entomology Section, Texas Department of Health
Photos of Common Galveston County Mosquitoes - Galveston County Mosquito Control, Texas
Saskatchewan spp. - U. of Saskatchewan
Habitat
Larvae are aquatic, developing mainly in standing water (temporary pools, water in discarded containers, saltmarshes, treeholes, etc.). However, some mosquitos, like some species of Anopheles, lay eggs in very slow moving streams and brooks.
Season
Mostly spring and summer in temperate climates
Food
Male and female adults feed on nectar and plant juices and only females feed on blood because a blood meal is usually required for development of eggs. Females can feed on the blood of amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals - including humans.
Click here to learn how mosquitos bloodfeed.
Larvae feed on algae, protozoans, and organic debris filtered from the water. However, a few species are predaceous on other mosquito larvae
Life Cycle
The eggs are laid either on the surface of standing water or above the waterline in areas subject to flooding; eggs hatch in spring and larvae complete 4 stages of development before pupating; larva stage may last from less than a week to more than a month, depending mostly on temperature and species; pupa stage typically lasts less than a week; adults emerge directly from pupae at the water surface; from one to several generations per year, depending on species and latitude.
1: Eggs. 2: Egg rafts. 3, 4 : Larvae. 5: Pupa. 6, 7: Adult female. 8, 9: Adult male
Remarks
Female mosquitoes are vectors (i.e. carriers and transmitters) of major diseases, including malaria [caused by a protozoan], yellow fever [virus], filariasis [nematode], dengue [virus], and certain types of encephalitis [virus].
Carbon dioxide, expelled in the breath of animals, attracts female mosquitoes that are looking for a blood meal. They detect carbon dioxide in the air and travel upwind to the source.
Print References
Knight, KL, Stone, A 1977. A catalog of the mosquitoes of the world (Diptera: Culicidae). The Thomas Say Foundation, Vol. 6, 2nd Ed. Entomological Society of America, College Park, Maryland.
Reinert, JF, Harbach, RE, Kitching, IJ 2009. Phylogeny and classification of tribe Aedini (Diptera: Culicidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 157: 700−794.
Extensive Literature - Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory
Internet References
Identification Guide to 37 Common Mosquitoes of Florida - Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (6)
PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO COMMON MOSQUITOES OF FLORIDA (PDF) - Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (6)