Known scientifically as Culicidae, mosquitoes are invertebrates with a carnivorous diet. There are over 3,000 different types of mosquitoes in the world, all falling into the 39 genera, and approximately 176 species can be found in North America. Although there is a wide variety of types, mosquitoes generally range in size from 0.125-.75 inches long and weigh .000088 ounces. Additionally, the mosquito can be distinguished from other similar pests by their 6 legs, 2 wings, 2 antennae, and singular proboscis
As carriers of some of the world’s most deadly illnesses and the cause of millions of deaths, it is important to know the most common mosquito types and be able to identify them. Here are the most common types of mosquitoes in North America.
The Anopheles Mosquito
The Anopheles mosquito is known universally as the “Malaria Mosquito,” as they are the primary vector of the Malaria disease. Female mosquitoes will deposit up to 200 individual eggs onto water which will take between 2 days to 2 weeks to hatch. They can be distinguished from other mosquitoes by their palps, which are as prominent as the proboscis. The body of the Anopheles is dark brown to black in color and the stomach area will point upwards while resting. Additionally, they have discrete blocks of black and white scales on their wings to help identify them.
The Aedes Mosquito
There are two main species types of the Aedes mosquito – the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus. Both are invasive species originally found in tropical and subtropical zones. Both species of the Aedes genus are known to transmit serious diseases such as dengue fever, the zika virus, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Females prefer to lay their eggs in small containers of water. They are visually distinctive by their black and white markings on their legs and bodies and are active and bite only during the daytime.
The Culex Mosquito
The Culex mosquito is also known as the “Common House Mosquito”. They feed on both humans and animals at night and are found both outdoors and indoors. Species of the Culex genus are known vectors for several diseases of humans, birds, and other animals. These diseases include; Japanese encephalitis, West Nile virus, and St. Louis encephalitis. They can also transmit the parasitic disease filariasis and spread avian malaria. The morphology of the adult Culex mosquito is typical of flies within the suborder Nematocera, with their head, abdomen, and thorax clearly defined. They can be further identified by their yellow-ish color and their resting position. Additionally, the females lay eggs on the water’s surface in rafts of up to 300 eggs.
Mosquitoes, no matter which type, can be a nuisance to you and your property. Whether you have the Culex mosquito or one of the Aedes species, controlling these pests can be a difficult challenge. However, taking the necessary steps now to prevent contracting a deadly illness is essential.
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