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Insecta: Diptera

CULICIDAE KEY

(Mosquitoes)

(Subfamilies, Tribes, Genera, Subgenera)

(Contact)

 

 

Please CLICK on picture and underlined links to view or to navigate within the key:

To Search for Subject Matter use Ctrl/F

 

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.

 

Navigate directly to: Subfamilies, Tribes, Anophilini Genera, Culicini Genera-adults,

Culicini Genera-larvae, North American Anophelines-adults,

North American Anophelines-larvae.

 

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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Subfamilies

 

ADULTS

 

a. The mouthparts are not extended into a proboscis. They extend just a little beyond the clypeus. When scales are present they

are mostly restricted to the hind wing margin _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Subfamily: Chaoborinae

b. The mouthparts are extended into a proboscis, which extends much beyond the clypeus. Scales are always present on the wing

veins and along the margin. Legs also have scales, and the body often has scales either in abundance or very sparce (Fig. 1)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Subfamily: Culicinae

 

Service (2005) divides the Culicidae into the three subfamilies: Anophelinae, Culicinae and Toxorhynchitinae. The tribe

separation shown here is not deployed and the Chaoborinae, because they do not have piercing mouthparts, are not included in

the Culicidae.

 

 

LARVAE-1, LARVAE-2

 

c. Antennae are prehensile and with long strong spines at the apex (Fig. 2) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Subfamily: Chaoborinae

 

d. The antennae are not prehensile and do not have strong spines at their apex (Fig. 3) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Subfamily: Culicinae

 

PUPAE

 

e. The swimming paddles are fused at the base and cannot be moved. Apical and lateral articulating spines or hairs are present

(Corethrella spp.) __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Subfamily: Chaoborinae

 

Swimming paddles can be moved, but lateral articulating spines are absent _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ f

 

f. A respiratory horn is almost closed at its apex or with the spiracular opening positioned close to the middle. The horn's surface

has hexagonal reticulations_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Subfamily: Chaoborinae

 

The respiratory horn is open at the tip, and the spiracle is at its base_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Subfamily: Culicinae

 

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Tribes

 

ADULTS

 

1. The proboscis is firm, with its basal half stout and apical half slim and bent backwards. The scutellum is evenly rounded with

marginal hairs and scales well dispersed _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Megarhinini

The proboscis is not firm and evenly thickened except for an enlarged apex. The apical half is not bent backwards _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2

 

2. The scutellum is evenly rounded or a little lobed and shaped like a crescent. Scales are either absent or scarce, but wing hairs on the margin are evenly dispersed. The first abdominal tergite never has scales and the sternites rarely have scales. The palpi of both sexes are as long or almost as long as the proboscis save for the genus Bironella (Fig. 4) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Tribe: Anophelini

 

The scutellum has three lobes with hairs confined to the lobes. Scales are usually present and occurring in patches. The abdomen has its tergites & sternites replete with scales. The palpi of females are short and of males long & bushy (Fig. 4) _ _3

 

3. The hind coxa has its base in line with the upper margin of the meron (Fig. 5- Wycomyia smithii) The postnotum has a group of bristles. The abdomen has very few hairs and is usually compressed _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Sabethini

 

The hind coxa's base is located below the upper margin of the meron. The postnotum does not have bristles and is usually smooth. The abdomen has hairs on the hind margins of segments _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Culicini

 

LARVAE-1, LARVAE-2

 

4. The 8th segment without an elongated siphon nor respiratory tube. The spiracles are sessile (Fig. 6) _ Tribe: Anophelini

 

The 8th segment has an elongated siphon or respiratory tube that is at least as long as broad _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 5

 

5. The mouth brushes are prehensile and each with 10 firm rods_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Megarhinini

 

The mouth brushes are nearly always not prehensile, and each has 30 or more hairs _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 6

 

6. The anal segment has one pair of ventral hairs or tufts instead of a brush. The siphon usually has numerous hairs or tufts _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Sabethini

 

The ventral brush on the anal segment is usually large and has at least 4 separate hairs or tufts. The siphon usually has tufts

that are in a definite pattern (Culicinae spp.) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Culicini

 

PUPAE

 

7. The lateral apical hairs of abdominal segments, save the last pair, are blunt spines which are situated almost precisely at the

corners (Fig. 7) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe Anophelini

 

The lateral apical hairs of abdominal segments, save the last pair, are situated much before the apical corners and each has a

branching hair or a single hair _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 8

 

8. The outer portion of the paddle extends beyond the midrib tip _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Megarhinini

 

The outer portion of the paddle is not longer than the midrib _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 9

 

9. The 7th and 8th segments have large posterio-lateral tufts _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Sabethini

 

The abdomen is different from the previous description and the paddles have apical hairs _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tribe: Culicini

 

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EXPANDED CULICIDAE KEYS

 

GO TO: Anophilini Genera

GO TO: Culicini Genera-adults

GO TO: Culicini Genera-larvae

GO TO: North American Anophelines-adults

GO TO: North American Anophelines-larvae

 

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Key References: <medvet.ref.htm> <Hexapoda>

 

Bock, G. R. & G. Cardew. 1996. Olfaction in Mosquito-Host Interactions. Chichester: Wiley Publ., England

Clark, G. G. 1994. Prevention of tropical diseases: status of new and emerging vector control strategies. Proc. Symp. Vector Control, Amer. J.

Trop. Med. & Hyg. 50(6): 1-159.

 

Clements, A. N. 1992. The Biology of Mosquitoes. Vol. 1: Development, Nutrition & Reproduction, Chapman & Hall, London.

Curtis, C. F. 1989. Appropriate Technology in Vector Control. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Foster, W. A. & E. D. Walker. 2002. Mosquitoes (Culicidae). IN: Med. & Veterinary Ent.. Acad. Press, Amsterdam. pp. 203-62.

Matheson, R. 1950. Medical Entomology. Comstock Publ. Co, Inc. 610 p.

Service, M. 2008. Medical Entomology For Students. Cambridge Univ. Press. 289 p

Legner, E. F. 1995. Biological control of Diptera of medical and veterinary importance. J. Vector Ecology 20(1): 59-120.

Legner, E. F.. 2000. Biological control of aquatic Diptera. p. 847-870. Contributions to a Manual of Palaearctic Diptera, Vol. 1, Sci.

Herald, Budapest. 978 p.

 

Pates, H. & C. Curtis. 2005. Mosquito behavior and vector control. Ann. Rev. Ent. 50: 53-70.

Spielman, A. & M. d'Antonio. 2001. Mosquito: a Natural History of Our Most Persistent and Deadly Foe. Faber & Faber, London.