More than 2,700 types of mosquitoes exist around the world. The mosquito is a small, flying insect with long legs and a slender abdomen. According to the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District in California, the males feed on plants, while females suck the blood of mammals. Mosquitoes are associated with the spread of many diseases, including malaria, yellow fever and West Nile virus.
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Southern House Mosquito
The southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) exists in the tropics and the lower latitudes of temperate areas. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, this medium-sized brown insect lives in the southern United States and throughout Florida. Active during nighttime hours, the house mosquito is considered the primary carrier of St. Louis encephalitis virus. It also transmits the West Nile Virus.
Adults have light brown heads, with a darker body, legs and wings. The underside of the body is lighter than the top, with half-moon shaped extensions wrapping around the abdomen.
Western Encephalitis Mosquito
The western encephalitis mosquito (Culex tarsalis) is one of the most important disease transmitters in western North America. Ranging from Mexico north to southern Canada, this medium-sized, brown mosquito features a white band on the proboscis and V-shaped markings on the abdomen. It is a known carrier of St. Louis encephalitis, equine encephalitis, various viruses and several species of avian malaria. Although this mosquito prefers to feed on birds, it will feed on human blood at night.
Cool Weather Mosquito
Referred to as the cool weather mosquito, Culiseta incidens rarely breeds during the summer months. These mosquitoes grow large, ranging from dark brown to black with white cross bands on all abdominal segments. Found from Alaska to the Southern California, most cool weather mosquitoes are concentrated west of the Rocky Mountains. Preferring the clean water found in ground and rock pools, the mosquito feeds on humans both at dawn and dusk. The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District reports that there is a potential for the transportation of disease by cool weather mosquitoes.
Anopheles quadrimaculatus, also known as the malarial mosquito, is considered by the Ohio State University Extension as the most important transmitter of malaria to humans in the Eastern United States. Frequently found in houses, this large, dark brown mosquito features four dark spots near the center of each wing. Malarial mosquitoes have a less painful bite than other types of mosquitoes; many bites go unnoticed. Adults are inactive during the daytime, staying in dark sheltered areas. Feeding occurs at night, targeting humans, cows, horses, pigs, mules and chickens.