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Mosquito (Culex spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Mosquito.

 Updated: 2/15/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The ubiquitous Mosquito is both a valuable food source and a colossal human nuisance in rainy and wet areas around the world.



One could say that most humans loathe Mosquitoes on a personal level. They bite, leaving itchy red spots that can take days or weeks to resolve. They buzz about faces and heads, flying close to ear canals. Swarms loiter above and around doorways. They are carriers of serious and lethal diseases for humans and other animals. For all that there is to dislike about a Mosquito, there is one major reason to appreciate having them around: food. Mosquitoes are abundant, especially in humid regions and tropical areas. This makes them a readily available meal for reptiles, amphibians, birds, bats, crustaceans, fish, and loads of other insects.

The Mosquito is a type of fly. An adult Mosquito has long legs, a long narrow abdomen, and a proboscis. Its wings are short and transparent. It looks clumsy in flight, but can be difficult to catch in the air. Females are the biters; males only drink nectar. Females need the protein found in blood to make eggs, so while they also drink nectar, hemoglobin is still necessary for reproduction. Mosquito saliva contains chemicals that slow the clotting of blood. A female can quickly fill a special stomach with blood if the host has high blood pressure, which helps pump blood out faster once the mouth parts have pierced skin.

Females lay fertilized eggs in still water or at the edge of it. Water sources can include a quiet pond, a puddle of water in a tire, or an uncovered rain barrel. Once eggs hatch, larvae feed on algae and bacteria. As pupae, they float just under the surface of the water, often in groups. Adults can live from 5 to 14 days in nature.

In the process on taking blood, the mosquito can passively transmit viruses and other disease-causing agents into the host's bloodstream. Malaria, dengue and yellow fever, Zika and West Nile virus, tularemia, and elephantiasis are diseases spread by Mosquito bites. Because these diseases are a threat to public health and safety, population control and management strategies exist in many parts of the world. Chemical spraying, larvicide tablets for ponds and lagoons, and campaigns to eliminate standing water from residential and corporate properties all aim to reduce population sizes. Personal measures like applying a repellent and using outdoor candles and products with citronella helps reduce bites.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Culicidae
          Genus: Culex
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Culex spp.
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 13mm (0.23in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, black, white
Descriptors: biting, itchy, long, flying, nuisance
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.