Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District

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MOSQUITO BIOLOGY – CALIFORNIA SPECIES

California has a diverse assortment of mosquitoes with 53 established species recognized in the state. Recent introductions of Aedes albopictus (2011) and Aedes aegypti (2013) have been detected in California and efforts are being made to control and possibly eradicate these nonnative species. However, the potential for new species introductions is always present.

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 genus

Aedes Mosquitoes

Aedes genus

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Diptera
Family Culicidae
Genus Aedes

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.

Anopheles genus

Anopheles Mosquitoes

Anopheles genus

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Diptera
Family Culicidae
Genus Anopheles

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.

Cuilseta genus

Culiseta Mosquitoes

Cuilseta genus

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Diptera
Family Culicidae
Genus Culiseta

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 genus

Culex Mosquitoes

Culex genus

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Diptera
Family Culicidae
Genus Culex

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.

Other Genera

Other Genera (Coquillettidia, Orthopodomyia, Psorophora, Uranotaenia)

Other Genera

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.

Checklist of CA species

Checklist of California species

Checklist of CA species

 

Aedes: Anopheles: Orthopodomyia:
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. deserticola
Ae. dorsalis Coquillettidia: Uranotaenia:
Ae. fitchii Cq. perturbans Ur. anhydor
Ae. flavescens
Ae. hemiteleus Culiseta: Introductions:
Ae. hexodontus Cs. impatiens Ae. aegypti
Ae. increpitus Cs. incidens Ae. albopictus
Ae. melanimon Cs. inornata
Ae. nigromaculis Cs. particeps
Ae. niphadopsis
Ae. pullatus Culex:
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
Cx. thriambus