Photo Date/Time: July 29, 2008
Location: Joaquin Miller Park
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar
Description: 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.
Body Length: 3-15 mm.
Biology: 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.
Importance: Female mosquitoes are vectors of major diseases, including malaria (caused by a protozoan), yellow fever (virus), filariasis (nematode), dengue (virus), and certain types of encephalitis (virus).
Development: 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.
Active Period: Mostly spring and summer in temperate climates.
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.
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. Larvae feed on algae, protozoans, and organic debris filtered from the water. However, a few species are predaceous on other mosquito larvae.
Diversity: 174 Species in 14 genera in America north of Mexico; More than 3,700 species in 46 genera and 145 subgenera worldwide, arranged in 2 subfamilies.
Similar Taxa: Midges (Chironomidae) are similar in appearance, but lack the proboscis.