Monday, October 27, 2008

Mosquito classification

I have been working hard on my vector biology. To be honest, the vectors are of less interest to me than the diseases that they transmit, but I'm trying nonetheless.

A few tidbits on the classification of mosquitoes:

1. To determine the sex of a mosquito, look at the antenna. If the antenna are "plumose" (hairy), the mosquito is male. If the antenna are "pilose" (not very hairy), the mosquito is female (see diagram above)

2. To determine the genera of medically important mosquitoes, look at the palps (sensory organs just lateral to the proboscis, the stick-like organ that punctures the skin for blood meal). If it is a female mosquito with long palps, the mosquito is Anopheles. If the mosquito is female with short palps, the mosquito is Culicine.

3. To assist with genera identification: Anopheles mosquitoes rest and bite with their bottoms up (approximately 45 degree angle to the skin). If you see a mosquito biting you with it's bottom parallel to the skin, it is not likely a anopheles, and you can rest assured that you won't get malaria from that bite (although you could get Yellow Fever, Dengue, Fillariasis, West Nile virus, or another mosquito-borne arthropod virus. The diagrams of Anopheles and Culex below were downloaded from CDC's National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases
I won't go into the details on how to identify and classify mosquito eggs, larvae and pupae, but I do know how, believe it or not.


Sue J. said...

I have been getting an amazing education through you! I also happen to be getting an amazing education about New York Cities own vectors: bed bugs. Let me know when you start studying them!

Missing you around these parts.
Thank you for spreading the knowledge.. and love.


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