(Subfamilies, Tribes, Genera, Subgenera)
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There are over 3,425 species of mosquitoes in 43 or more genera described as of 2016. There continues to be disagreement among specialists on the number of genera. Matheson (1950) lists two subfamilies: Chaoborinae and Culicinae and then further separates the group into four tribes: Anophilini, Culicini, Magarhinini and Sabethini. Service (2008) has three subfamilies: Anophelini, Culicinae. and Toxorhynchitinae. There is only one genus in the Toxorhynchitinae (Toxorhynchites) the members of which do not bite and thus are of no medical importance even though their larvae are predators of other mosquitoes and may be considered beneficial.
The Culicidae are distinguished by having only one pair of functional fore wings, with the hind wings modified as halteres. There is a forward-projecting proboscis, many scales on the thorax, legs, abdomen and wing veins and a fringe of scales along the posterior margin of the wings. Most species are small and slender. The eyes are kidney-shaped. The antennae are segmented and have short hairs in females and long hairs in males.
The following keys use the Matheson (1950) system to separate subfamilies, tribes, genera and subgenera in order to facilitate the identification of species in this very large and diverse family Culicidae.
Because the Matheson arrangement includes taxa that bear a close resemblance to Culicidae it is well suited to the nonspecialist for it distinguishes the medically important groups from the more benign.
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