Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Family Culicidae - Mosquitoes

Mosquito - Male Culex? - Culex quinquefasciatus - male Elephant Mosquito - Toxorhynchites rutilus - male Asian Rock Pool Mosquito - female Mosquito or large Midge Culicidae - female 2018-09-21 Brown mosquito - Anopheles Male mosquito - male Ochlerotatus sticticus - 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
Classification of Aedini also reflected in(1)(2)
Explanation of Names
Culicidae Meigen 1818
mosquito 'small fly'
Numbers
174 spp. in 14 genera in our area(3), >3700 spp. in 46 genera and 145 subgenera worldwide, arranged in 2 subfamilies(2)(4) [many subgenera, esp. in the Aedini, are often treated as separate genera -- cf.(1)]
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 NA spp. in (5)
Range
Cosmopolitan; Maps of Texas' 85 spp. (6)
Habitat
Larvae aquatic, mainly in standing water (temporary pools, water in discarded containers, saltmarshes, treeholes, etc.); some Anopheles spp. lay eggs in very slow moving streams/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. Hosts are tetrapods. • Larvae feed on algae, protozoans, and organic debris filtered from water; a few species prey on other mosquito larvae
Life Cycle
The eggs laid on water surface or above the waterline in areas subject to flooding; eggs hatch in spring; 4 larval instars; larva stage may last from less than a week to over a month, depending on temperature and species; pupal stage typically lasts under a week; adults emerge from pupae at water surface; one to several generations per year.
Eggs egg rafts larvae pupa adult female male9