Mosquitos

There are more than 2,700 species of mosquitoes in the world, and there are 13 mosquito genera (plural for “genus”) that live in the United States. Of these genera, most mosquitoes belong to three:

Aedes

These are sometimes called “floodwater” mosquitoes because flooding is important for their eggs to hatch. Aedes mosquitoes have abdomens with pointed tips. They include such species as the yellow-fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). They are strong fliers, capable of travelling great distances (up to 75 miles/121 km) from their breeding sites. They persistently bite mammals (especially humans), mainly at dawn and in the early evening. Their bites are painful.

Anopheles

These tend to breed in bodies of permanent fresh water. Anopheles mosquitoes also have abdomens with pointed tips. They include several species, such as the common malaria mosquito (Anopheles quadrimaculatus), that can spread malaria to humans.

Culex

These tend to breed in quiet, standing water. Culex mosquitoes have abdomens with blunt tips. They include several species such as the northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens). They are weak fliers and tend to live for only a few weeks during the summer months. They persistently bite (preferring birds over humans) and attack at dawn or after dusk. Their bite is painful. Some mosquitoes, such as the cattail mosquito (Coquilettidia perturbans), are becoming more prevalent pests as humans invade their habitats.

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