How Many Species of Mosquitoes Are There?

Posted by Mosquito Squad
How Many Species of Mosquitoes Are There?

February 3, 2022

Have you ever seen an insect and thought it was a mosquito, but the size or color threw you off?

There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but only 174 are found here in America, with Texas hosting 85 species alone. The name mosquito is a Spanish or Portuguese word meaning “little fly,” and experts believe the insect made its debut in America in 1583. After mating, a mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs at a time 3 times in a lifespan, which is anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months. When it is time to mate, a male mosquito can detect a female by the speed of her wings flying twice as fast as his.

Mosquitoes That Bite Humans

Male and female mosquitoes both feed on sugar found in plants, but it is the female who depends on blood to nourish her eggs. The protein from blood is for egg production, not so much the amino acids. But the amino acids and carbohydrates are essential for mosquito nutrition. Mosquitoes generally fly no higher than 25 feet from the ground. Some mosquitoes can fly up to 20 miles away from their breeding site to find “a blood- meal.” Although there are many species of biting mosquitoes, the three medically relevant genera that transmit most diseases are Culex, Aedes, and Anopheles.

Culex Mosquitoes

Culex mosquitoes are most active at night during the summer months. The Culex mosquito, also known as the house mosquito, prefers to feed during dusk and after dusk. These mosquitoes predominately transmit the West Nile virus and Western equine encephalitis. The Northern house mosquito (scientific name Culex pipiens) has a brown or grayish body with brown wings, and it thrives in polluted or stagnant water.

Western encephalitis mosquitoes (scientific name Culex tarsalis) are found mainly in the Midwest and Western states. These mosquitoes are black with a white band on their proboscis (mouth) and stripes along their middle and hind legs. Southern house mosquitoes (scientific name Culex quinquefasciatus) carry St. Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, and canine heartworm. They make their homes in the Southeastern regions of America.

Aedes Mosquitoes

Aedes mosquitoes include the inland floodwater mosquito (scientific name Aedes vexans), Asian tiger mosquito (scientific name Aedes albopictus), yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), tree-hole mosquito (Aedes triseriatus), and Saltmarsh mosquito (scientific name Aedes sollicitans). Aedes mosquitoes carry diseases like Zika, Dengue, Yellow fever, St. Louis encephalitis, Eastern and Western equine encephalitis (EEE or WEE), and California encephalitis. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus transmit the majority of diseases humans catch from mosquitoes, such as Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. They prefer tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Anopheles Mosquitoes

Anopheles mosquitoes Anopheles, or Marsh mosquitoes, include roughly 460 species and are most known for their ability to transmit malaria. Anopheles gambiae is the most critical malaria vector of sub-Saharan Africa. A child dies from malaria every other minute, and approximately 200 million new cases occur every year. Anopheles mosquitoes prefer to breed in pools, small streams, irrigated lands, freshwater marshes, forest pools, and slow-moving water.

Although there are many species of mosquitoes, only three genera make up most of the medically relevant species.

You can rest assured that Mosquito Squad can protect your yard and your events from all species of mosquitoes. Call today for your free estimate.