Click on the pictures below for more information on California mosquitoes broken down by genera. The majority of California mosquitoes are in the genera Aedes, Anopheles, Culiseta, or Culex. Aedes has the greatest number of California species.
Aedes is the best represented mosquito genus in California in the number of species. Many species in this genus are commonly referred to as floodwater mosquitoes because eggs are laid in sources that will eventually fill with water. Aedes eggs are laid singly at the edge of drying substrate. They are resistant to drying out and may require a conditioning period before hatching. Larvae have a short siphon and hang downward at a 45 degree angle from the water surface. Adults have a pointed abdomen and rest with their bodies parallel to the surface. Most Aedes adults readily feed on humans and are aggressive biters. Several species are capable of transmitting diseases to humans including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and many others. Aedes sierrensis is the primary vector of dog heartworm in California. Twenty seven Aedes species are recognized in California, one of which, Ae. atropalpus, has only been collected once near Folsom, CA. Two species, Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti, are not included in this total although they have been introduced into California several times. The most recent introductions occurred in 2011 (Ae. albopictus) and 2013 (Ae. aegypti). Efforts to eradicate these mosquitoes are ongoing.
Eggs of Anopheles are laid singly on the surface of the water often in heavy vegetation or algal mats. They are boat shaped with lateral floats. Larvae lack a siphon so they lay parallel to the water surface to breathe via a posterior opening on the abdomen. Adults rest with their proboscis, head and body in a straight line that is at an angle or perpendicular to the surface. Anopheles mosquitoes are the only know carrier of malaria. Five species are found in California.
Eggs of Culiseta mosquitoes are laid on the water and stick to each other to form a raft. Larvae hang downward at a 45 degree angle from the water surface. The tip of the adult’s abdomen is bluntly rounded. Some species are severe biters. Four species are found in California.
Culex is the second largest genus of mosquitoes in California. Eggs of Culex mosquitoes are laid on the water and stick to each other to form a raft. Larvae typically have a long siphon and hang downward at a 45 degree angle from the water surface. Adults rest parallel to the surface with their proboscis bent downwards. The tip of the adult’s abdomen is bluntly rounded. Adults bite chiefly at dusk and during the night. Twelve species are found in California.
Coquillettidia: Adults are medium in size and can easily be confused with Aedes and Culex mosquitoes. Larvae do not breathe air from the surface of the water instead they attach to air cells of aquatic plants to obtain oxygen for respiration. They are mostly found in permanent bodies of water and only float to the surface as pupae just prior to emerging as an adult. One species is found in California.
Orthopodomyia: Adults are medium sized mosquitoes, usually with conspicuous ornamentation. They primarily live in wooded areas and not known to bite humans. One species is found in California.
Psorophora: Eggs are laid singly on the ground in depressions where water collects. They are able to withstand long periods of drying. Larvae develop quickly. Adults are vicious biters and readily attack humans and other warm-blooded hosts. Two species are found in California.
Uranotaenia: Eggs of Uranotaenia are laid on the water and stick to each other to form a raft. Larvae rest nearly horizontal with the surface of the water. Adults rarely feed on humans. One species is found in California.
|Ae. atropalpus||An. franciscanus||Or. signifera|
|Ae. bicristatus||An. freeborni|
|Ae. campestris||An. hermsi||Psorophora:|
|Ae. cataphylla||An. occidentalis||Ps. columbiae|
|Ae. clivis||An. punctipennis||Ps. signipennis|
|Ae. fitchii||Cq. perturbans||Ur. anhydor|
|Ae. hexodontus||Cs. impatiens||Ae. aegypti|
|Ae. increpitus||Cs. incidens||Ae. albopictus|
|Ae. melanimon||Cs. inornata|
|Ae. nigromaculis||Cs. particeps|
|Ae. purpureipes||Cx. anips|
|Ae. schizopinax||Cx. apicalis|
|Ae. sierrensis||Cx. boharti|
|Ae. squamiger||Cx. erraticus|
|Ae. sticticus||Cx. erythrothorax|
|Ae. taeniorhynchus||Cx. pipiens ( 2 subspecies)|
|Ae. tahoensis||Cx. reevesi|
|Ae. thelcter||Cx. restuans|
|Ae. melanimon||Cs. inornata|
|Ae. ventrovittus||Cx. stigmatosoma (= Cx. peus)|
|Ae. vexans||Cx. tarsalis|
|Ae. washinoi||Cx. territans|