Aedes vigilax (Skuse)
Article authored by Bruce Gow
Adult: Saltmarsh mosquitoes are 3-7 mm long. The body is elongate and dark coloured.
Head: The head is small and rounded. Dark narrow scales near margin of eye and pale near occiput (where head joins thorax). The proboscis is pale along the basal half and palpi are white apically. Antennae are long and filiform in the females and plumose in males. Eyes are large and greater than half the size of the head.
Thorax: All legs are similar with femora and tibia mottled. The forewing is long and covered in dark scales with pale mottling. Hindwings are modified into halteres (small knobs at the base of the forewing). Halteres are pale.
Abdomen: Apex of the abdomen is tapered and cerci are long.
Reproduction & Life-cycle:Adult females lay eggs individually in mud, on vegetation or in water. Eggs are resistant to desiccation and may exist for long periods between heavy rains which fill pools and initiate eclosion. Larvae are small and worm-like with hairs around mouthparts and abdomen. The larvae breath air through siphons on the tip of the abdomen. Typically located at 60° angle to the surface of the water. Mature larvae pupate in water. Larval and pupal stages are approximately 6 days in mid-summer.
Distribution:Saltmarsh mosquito is a common name often used for many species throughout the world.
PestStatus:Aedes vigilax breeds in salt marshes and brackish temporary pools near mangroves. The species bites viciously day and night and often enters buildings. Females are autogenous (do not require a blood meal to produce eggs). Saltmarsh mosquito is a vector of Ross River virus, Murray Valley encephalitis (under lab conditions only) and dog heartworm in Australia.
“I know, another species of mosquito. Sadly this type of mosquito isn’t any less annoying.” – Ruan Van Zyl
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