Culicidae - Mosquitoes, Gnats

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Classification

NEMATOCERA, Culicomorpha, Culicoidea

Number of British species: 32

Size: S-M

Difficulty: 2-3

Scheme

Characters

Small to medium sized (3-9 mm, rarely up to 15 mm), pale to dark coloured Nematocera with slender wings, delicate legs and abdomen; with long mouthparts, in the female piercing; wings, legs and often abdomen (partially) covered by scales. Head with elongate mouthparts that are much longer than the head; eyes reniform, dichoptic; ocelli absent; antenna with 15 segments, with long verticils in the male, verticils shorter in the female.

Biology

The larvae largely develop in shallow stagnant waters, predominantly in small or temporary bodies of water. They feed on particles of detritus, bacteria, algae, etc.; a few species are predatory, mainly on other culicid larvae. The females feed on the blood in order to obtain protein for the development of their eggs. Feeding preferences vary from one species to another and hosts include cold-blooded vertebrates but especially birds and mammals, including humans. The Culicidae occupy virtually all habitats and can occur locally, or temporarily, in vast numbers. Due to their blood feeding habits they can be such a nuisance that they interfere with human activities and have a negative impact on the yield of cattle breeding. Apart from this, they are vectors of several serious diseases of which malaria is the best known and claims the greatest number of casualties.

Identification

 
families/nematocera/culicidae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:00 (external edit)     Back to top
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