Toxorhynchites Mosquito

Common Name: Toxorhynchites Mosquito

Latin Name: Toxorhynchites

Common Family Name: Mosquitoes

Latin Family Name: Culicidae

Other Names: Tiger mosquito

Origin: There are 71 species of this genus found throughout the world, most in tropical countries on most continents. There is a single species native to the eastern United States, and several species have been introduced to Hawaii as bio-control agents.

Biology: This genus is an important predator of other mosquito larvae, feeding on them in the larval stage only. Adults of Toxorhynchites feed on nectar with their long, curved proboscis, and they are not blood feeders. The larvae are huge, just under 1 inch long in their final instar, and they are capable of eating up to 400 larvae of other mosquito species during their development. In addition, during the period just before pupation they may kill many mosquito larvae without eating them, adding to the reduction of the nuisance species. The larval stage over-winters.

Identification: Larvae are identified not only by their relatively enormous size, but by the dark brown to reddish color and conspicuous hairs on their abdomen. They have a thick head capsule and very large mandibles. The adults are also very large, as much as twice the size of blood feeding species, and their proboscis is long and strongly curved downward. The color of the adult may be a metallic sheen of greenish or pink scaling.

Characteristics Important in Control: There is no need to control this beneficial species, and they are used as bio-control agents for mosquito control.