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Mosquitoes in Oklahoma. Dr. Russell Wright, Prof. Emeritus. General Biology of Mosquitoes. Insects that belong to Order DIPTERA which includes all the flies. Have four life stages: Egg -- laid on surface or edge of water. Larvae -- live only in water. Pupae -- live only in water. Adults.

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Mosquitoes in oklahoma

Mosquitoes in Oklahoma

Dr. Russell Wright, Prof. Emeritus

General biology of mosquitoes
General Biology of Mosquitoes

  • Insects that belong to Order DIPTERA which includes all the flies.

  • Have four life stages:

    • Egg -- laid on surface or edge of water.

    • Larvae -- live only in water.

    • Pupae -- live only in water.

    • Adults

Mosquitoes in oklahoma

  • Laid on singly on surface or edge of water.

  • Some species lay eggs in rafts on surface of water.

  • Some sp. hatch 24-36 hrs.

  • Some hatch after one, two or three years.

  • Over wintering stage for some species


  • Four stages: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th instars.

  • Called “wrigglers”,very active, come to surface for air.

  • Total length 6-12 days. Some species even weeks.


  • Stage that changes from larvae to adult.

  • Called “tumblers” very active, come to surface for air.

  • Stage lasts from 3-6 days.

Adult male
Adult (Male)

  • Emerges first

  • Feeds on nectar sources for energy.

  • Mates within 3 to 7 days and dies

Adult females
Adult (Females)

  • Emerges and feeds on nectar.

  • Mates, usually only once.

  • Searches for blood meal.

  • Needs blood meal to develop eggs.

  • 1-5 blood meals over life of 7 to 28 days.

Mosquito species present in oklahoma
Mosquito Species Present in Oklahoma:

  • Approximately 60 known species in Oklahoma. Over 230 species in U.S.

  • Usually only 6-8 species will be a nuisance pest in any given area.

Genus and species
Genus and species

  • Every species is more different from each other genetically than you and I are from any other human on earth.

  • So I will need to use at least Genus names, sometimes species as I refer to biology.

  • Think of these names as the folks you know as Jane, Linda, Ann , Tom. Dick, Harry etc.

  • However if you think of any of your friends by these names, don’t tell them I told you to do so.

Classification based on larval habitat
Classification Based on Larval Habitat

  • Flood Water Mosquitoes

  • Permanent Water Mosquitoes

    • Permanent Pool Group

    • Transient Water Group

  • Container Mosquitoes

Larval habitat
Larval Habitat

  • Important to know which mosquitoes cause problems and when.

  • Identify larval habitats based on adults present.

  • Most effective to find and map larval habitats and eliminate or treat in this stage.

Flood water mosquitoes
Flood Water Mosquitoes

  • Mosquitoes in Genera Aedes, Ochlerotatus, and Psorophora

  • Some species from these three genera are the most important pest species.

  • Bite humans, livestock, pets. And can have very large populations in spring and early summer.

  • Do not believe that most vector WNV

Flood water mosquitoes cont
Flood Water Mosquitoes (cont.)

  • Eggs are laid on the soil surface at the edge of standing pools of water that are left from heavy rains or floods.

    • Often woodland pools; roadside ditches or low areas along creeks rivers that collect flood water.

  • Eggs hatch when flooded by run off from heavy rains or flood water.

Flood water mosquitoes cont1
Flood Water Mosquitoes (cont.)

  • Eggs are over wintering stage. In most cases must spend winter in egg case, called diapause stage.

  • Can survive in egg stage for several years until flooded.

  • However, can have different hatches within several days if increased water levels hatch new eggs.

Flood water mosquitoes cont2
Flood Water Mosquitoes (cont.)

  • Adult populations peak in late April, May, and June, some species hatch with late summer fall rains .

  • Adults die quickly during hot weather.

  • Any flooded pools usually dry up too fast to support larvae in hot weather.

  • Females most active around sunset or in shady areas when disturbed.

Permanent water mosquitoes permanent pool group
Permanent Water MosquitoesPermanent Pool Group

  • Genera Anopheles, Coquillettida, Mansonia some Culex sp.

  • Found in quiet bodies of freshwater with sunlight, much surface vegetation and very little wave action.

  • Shallow edges of ponds, some lakes backwaters of rivers even slow moving streams.

  • Never in main lake or pond areas with much wave action.

Permanent pool group cont
Permanent Pool Group (cont.)

  • Anopheles lay eggs singly on surface of water, each egg with a float.

  • Eggs hatch in 24-36 hrs. Many generations a year tend to peak mid late summer

  • Adults over winter triggered by photoperiod.

  • Deep south perhaps cycle can go all year, slower in winter.

Permanent pool group cont1
Permanent Pool Group (cont.)

  • Genera Coquillettidia and Mansonia

  • Mansonia mosquitoes lay eggs in groups attached to plant stems underwater; Coquillettidia in rafts onwater surface.

  • Larvae insert breathing siphon into plant and takes oxygen directly from plant tissues. Cattail marshes and similar type water.

  • Appear to have one prolonged generation per year and at least in south over winter in larval stage.

  • Not much of a nuisance pest.

Permanent water mosquitoes transient water group
Permanent Water MosquitoesTransient Water Group

  • Genera Culex and Culiseta

  • Canals, long standing ground pools or roadside ditches, catch basins, storm sewers , clogged sewers long standing irrigation pools, water often becomes very foul polluted for some species others need fairly clean water.

  • These mosquitoes lay eggs in rafts on the surface of the water.

  • Eggs hatch within 24-36 hours.

Transient water group cont
Transient Water Group (cont.)

  • These mosquitoes normally over winter in the adult stage.

  • Adults emerging in late summer or fall do not search for a blood meal, but mate and female searches for sheltered areas to spend winter.

    • Caves, burrows, sewers, basements etc.

  • Populations low in spring peak in mid to late summer. Vary some with species.

Culex spp laying eggs
Culex spp. Laying Eggs

Transient water group cont1
Transient Water Group (cont.)

  • Populations of these mosquitoes low in spring.

  • Takes awhile to build large populations.

  • Peak abundance July-October.

  • Many species prefer birds as hosts.

  • Are often best vectors of viruses.

  • Bite more readily at night.

Container mosquitoes
Container Mosquitoes

  • Certain species in 5-6 Genera

  • In nature larvae live in tree holes, rock pools even leaf axils.

  • Many species now associated with man made containers or materials that hold water.

    • Tires, cans, buckets , birdbaths, gutters, pet water dishes, plant container bottoms that catch water, even cans, paper cups etc.

Asian tiger mosquito
Asian Tiger Mosquito

  • Aedes albopictus

  • Larvae in containers of any size.

Aedes albopictus eggs in container
Aedes albopictus Eggs in Container

  • Efficient container breeder utilizing available sources.

  • Eggs laid on surface of water, on sides of container, and on stick.

  • Immediate egg hatch of some eggs, delayed hatch for others.

Asian tiger mosquito1
Asian Tiger Mosquito

  • First found in OK 1990-91, Tulsa, SE Counties.

  • By 2000 was found in all counties we surveyed.

  • Most important pest in most areas.

  • Bites in mid to late afternoon.

  • Abundant from mid June through Sept.

Distribution of asian tiger mosquito in oklahoma


Thru 2000

Distribution of Asian Tiger Mosquito in Oklahoma

Mosquito species of greatest concern
Mosquito Species of Greatest Concern

  • Belong to Genus Culex

  • Include C. pipiens/quinquefasciatus, southern house mosquito most likely vector

  • C. restuans, C. salinarius, C. tarsalis.

  • Note: all are permanent water mosquitoes, populations peak in summer through fall at same time virus activity peaks

  • All prefer to feed on birds.

Possible wnv vector species in oklahoma
Possible WNV Vector Speciesin Oklahoma

  • Bridge vectors to humans & horses.

  • Culex tarsalis – Cx. salinarius Permanent transient water but not very stagnant

  • Aedes vexans –floodwater; spring through mid summer

  • Aedes albopictus

  • Ochlerotatus triseriatus. Oc. hendersoni

    • Container or tree hole species


  • Knowledge of the mosquito species in a given area and relative abundance is necessary in planning control measures.

  • Some species do not vector WNV, control not as important.

  • Accurate records must be kept of surveillance locations.

  • Species I.D. is essential.


  • Controlling mosquito larvae most effective control measure because life stage is confined to aquatic habitat.

  • Water management by drainage or source reduction.

  • Larvicides can be used if drainage not available or adequate.

  • Not as practical in Oklahoma until we have identified larval sites.