Animalia / Mandulibulata / Hexapoda / Diptera / Culicidae / Ochlerotatus / Species:

Ochlerotatus sollicitans - Saltmarsh mosquito:

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INDEX - INFORMATION AVAILABLE

The information in subject headings below is of a general nature on mosquitoes, and Ochlerotatus genus. Species specific information is only added where available/appropriate. For this species information has been added in the sections marked *.

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE

LIFE CYCLE

ENVIRONMENT

STATUS

 
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Alternative scientific names for species

  • Aedes sollicitans (B502)
  • Culex sollicitans (B505)

Common names for species / adults

Culicine Mosquitoes; Aedes Mosquitoes; Saltmarsh Mosquitoes

Names for other life stages

  • Larval stages may be referred to as instars.
  • Pupae may be called Tumblers.

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General Appearance and Characteristics

  • This is the most important of the saltmarsh mosquitoes. (D70)
  • Medium-sized species. (B505)
  • It can be easily recognised by the golden colour of the upper side of the thorax and longitudinal stripe of white or yellowish-white scales on the abdomen. The proboscis and tarsi have wide pale bands. (D70)
  • The development of the larvae and pupae to adult stages requires 7 - 10 days in warm weather. (D70)
  • Described as mammalophilic (preferring to feed on mammals) (Information source not published - taken from website W170).
  • Generally, in favourable conditions, the time required for development of Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) varies from about 7 to 16 days. (B24)

Similar Species

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Sexual Dimorphism --

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Associated Diseases
(Information on this species has been added specifically to support the "West Nile Virus" Wildpro volume.
Information on other diseases for which this species is a vector will be fully researched and added in due course.)

Linked Diseases

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References

Species Author

Suzanne I. Boardman (V.w6)

Species Editor

Debra Bourne (V.w5)

References

B24, B46, B73, B502, B503, B504, D70

ORGANISATIONS
(USA Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Population Management / Control

Notes

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Management Techniques

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Appearance

Egg

Shape

Size

  • --
Colour
  • --
Egg wall

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Larva

GENERAL CULICIDAE INFORMATION

Shape

  • --

Size

  • --
Colour
  • --
Detailed anatomical comments
  • Culicine larvae:
    • do not have float (palmate) hairs on abdominal segments. (D70)
    • the respiratory openings (stigmata) are at the tip of a siphon (air tube) which arises from the dorsal aspect of the eight and ninth abdominal segments and surrounds the stigmata. (B24, D70)
    • in Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera larvae, the breathing tube is relatively short and stout. (B503)
    • tracheal gills are well-developed in forms that feed at the bottom of the water, such as Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera. (B24)
    • in Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera larvae, sclerotization of the anal segment is usually incomplete around the segment. (B503)

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Pupa

Shape

  • --

Size

  • --
Colour
  • --
Detailed anatomical comments
  • --

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Adult

Male characteristics (if different from above)

Shape

  • In Culicine Mosquitoes the resting position of abdomen is pointed towards the resting surface, i.e. the proboscis and abdomen are at an angle, giving a hump-backed appearance. (B24, B503)

Size

  • Medium-sized species. (B505)

Colour

  • It can be easily recognised by the golden colour of the upper side of the thorax and longitudinal stripe of white or yellowish-white scales on the abdomen. The proboscis and tarsi have wide pale bands. (D70)
  • The upper side of the thorax is a golden colour and the abdomen has a longitudinal stripe of white or yellowish-white scales. (D70)
  • The proboscis and tarsi have wide pale bands. (D70)

Detailed Anatomical Comments

HEAD
  • In Culicines- the palpi of females are very short, while those of the male are usually as long as the proboscis, not clubbed, long, densely haired, and pointed. (B24, B503, D70)

THORAX

  • In Culicine mosquitoes the scutellum (posterior part of the back of the thorax of the insect) is evenly curved. (B24, B503)
  • Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera species do not have spiracular bristles in front of the mesothoracic spiracles, but do have post-spiracular bristles (a group of bristles immediately behind the mesothoracic spiracle). (B503)

ABDOMEN

  • In Culicines the abdomen is covered with scales which often form characteristic markings. (D70)
  • Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera females usually have a pointed tip to the abdomen with the paired cerci (jointed appendage at the tip of the abdomen in insects) protruding. (B503)
  • In Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera species, the female abdomen is tapered apically, with the eighth segment withdrawn into the seventh. (D70)

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Life Cycle

Egg production and development

Oviposition (place and type of egg-laying)
  • Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera eggs are usually laid as single eggs, near water (B24, B24)
  • The eggs of this species are laid on the mud or on plants in marshes where they remain until flooded by high tides or rains. (D70)
Time to hatching
  • Hatching of Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) eggs occurs after several days to weeks and is temperature-dependent. (B46)
  • After the eggs of this species have been dry for a week or two, they hatch within a few minutes if covered with water. (D70)
Number of broods
  • Some of the woodland Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera species have a single brood each year and so are particularly troublesome early in the season. (B503)

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Larval Development / Natural Diet / Behaviour

Natural Diet
Physiological Requirements Temperature

Food supplies:

Respiration:

Predation in the wild
  • Fish, insects. (D70)
Behaviour and Activity Patterns
  • Young stages of Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) can be transferred to new areas by water flowing intermittently. (B24)
  • Too much rain can wash away the larvae and decrease the number of Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family), unless pools remain afterwards. (B24)
  • Generally, Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) larvae can rest just beneath the surface without effort; certain non-wetting structures suspend the larvae from the water surface film. (D70)
  • Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) larvae move in two ways, by:
    • jerks of the body. (D70)
    • propulsion with the mouth brushes. (D70)
  • Culicine mosquitoes generally move by using mouth brushes to "crawl" over the bottom and move slowly on the surface. (D70)
  • Culicine larvae:
    • tend to hang head down with only the tip of the air tube penetrating the surface film, suspended from the water surface by the air tube. (B503, D70).
    • feed below surface of the water. (B24)
    • the air tube is closed by the chitinous valves which open when the larva goes to the surface of the water to breath. (B24)

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Pupal Development

  • All Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) pupae are aquatic and motile, using paddle-like, oval extensions attached terminally to the abdomen to move up and down in the water. (B46, D70).
  • The pupal stage for Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) is usually short: a few hours may be sufficient for certain dry climate species, but more normally ranges from two days in the tropics but can be more than several weeks in temperate regions. (B46, B504, D70)
  • No Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) pupa is known to overwinter as a pupa. (D70)
  • The Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) pupa release the adult through a hole / split in back (dorsum) of the pupal cuticle (tegument) as the pupal case floats on the surface of the water. The wings are fully expanded and hardened after about 24 hours and the mosquito is then soon able to fly. (B46, B504, D70)
Natural Diet
Physiological Requirements Respiration
Predation in the wild
  • Probably - fish, insects. (D70)
Behaviour and Activity Patterns
  • All Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) pupae are motile, using paddle-like, oval extensions attached terminally to the abdomen to move up and down in the water. (B46, D70).
  • Most Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) pupae tend to be lighter than water due to an air space between the wing cases on the underside of the cephalothorax. (D70)
  • Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) pupae can move about with considerable speed by vigorous movement of the abdomen, tending to rise directly to the surface when movement stops although they tend to be not quite as active as the larvae. (B24, D70)

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Adult Reproduction / Physiology / Natural Diet / Behaviour

  • --
Natural Diet
  • Described as mammalophilic (preferring to feed on mammals) (Information source not published - taken from website W170).
  • Most Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) species have a generally preferred group of hosts (e.g. birds, mammals, amphibians), but host preference can vary seasonally and often depends on availability. (V.w55)
  • Female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) species of veterinary and medical importance normally feed on blood and many species require a blood feed in order to lay eggs (other species of mosquitoes feed only on plants and these are usually of little interest as disease vectors or pests. B504); the protein is necessary for the maturation of ovaries. This cycle requires two or more days for the female to digest the blood, lay a batch of eggs, then seek another blood meal; the cycle can be repeated many times in a female's life. (B24, B504, D70)
  • When Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) females feed, a tube is formed by the proboscis and the stylets penetrate the skin of the animal and form a small duct through which saliva is injected into the wound; they also act as a canal through which liquid food is ingested. (B46, D70)
  • Adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) can be fed on fruit juices and sugar water, and males normally feed on a similar diet in the wild. (B24)
  • Adult male Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) (and occasionally the females) feed on nectar and other plant juices. (B24, B503)
  • female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) can bite through clothing. (B46)
Predation in the wild --
Reproduction and Life-span
  • Flagellum of spermatozoa of Hexapoda has microtubule arrangement of 9 + 9 + 2. (B502)
  • The male Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) usually emerge first. (D70)
  • Only one mating by the females Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) is generally required to fertilise her lifetime egg production. (D70)
  • The life-span of adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) is not well known; some species apparently live one or two months during summer, whereas adults that hibernate can live for six months or more. (D70)
  • Approximately equal number of male and female Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) are produced. (D70)
  • Although the life span of adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) is usually short, females that are too late to lay due to environmental conditions, may either hibernate or aestivate until the following season. (B24)
  • Several generations of this species are produced each year in the northern states of the United States. In south Florida breeding is continuous throughout the year. (D70)
  • The adults of this species are strong fliers and often travel 5 to 10 miles (up to 40 miles or more). (D70)
Behaviour and Activity Patterns
  • The adults are strong fliers and often migrate in large swarms from the marshes to cities and towns many miles away. An occasional female has been trapped as far as 100 miles from the salt-water. (B505, D70)
  • The adults do not often invade homes. (D70)
  • The females are persistent biters and will attack any time during the day or night: they rest in the vegetation during the day-time and will attack anyone entering their haunts, even in full sunlight. (B505)
  • The feeding behaviour of the female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) may cause great nuisance to their host species and bites can be painful and may become secondarily infected. (B24, B46, V.w6)
  • Female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) tend to hide in dark corners (hollow trees, culverts etc.) during the day and may use these as hibernacula. (B24, B46, B503)
  • female Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) tend to live longer and travel greater distances than the male. (D70)
  • Female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) seem to be attracted by skin warmth. (B24)
  • Female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) are usually active at night (nocturnal feeders), in twilight hours or in dense shade, although some species may feed entirely during the day. (B24, B46, B503, D70)
  • Adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) may fly fair distances, varying between different species, and may be carried by the wind, or travel in a number of stages. They can also travel in vehicles. (B24)
  • This species can fly 10 to 20 miles or more. (D70)
  • This species, like some other salt-marsh mosquitoes, may be found many miles from the larval habitat. (B503)
  • The migratory flights begin just before dark and frequently consist of tremendous numbers of these mosquitoes. (D70)
  • In the daytime these females rest on vegetation and will readily attack anyone who disturbs them, even in full sunlight. (D70)
Detailed Physiological Comments
  • the antennae of Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) are believed to to used for hearing and smelling. (D70)
  • Two small knobbed structures (halteres) vibrate rapidly whilst the mosquito is in flight and serve as organs of equilibrium. (D70)

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Environment

General Habitat type (Biogeographical / Climate Type)

  • The larvae of this species occur mostly in salt marshes in coastal areas. They have also been found in brackish-water swamps of many inland states, particularly in the oil fields. (B505)
Typical USA Mosquito Habitats

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Microhabitat (Egg, Larvae, Pupae, Adult)

Egg Temperature

Humidity

Larva
  • Larval production generally occurs on the mud or on plants in marshes where they remain until flooded by high tides or rains. (D70)
  • All Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) larvae live in water. (D70)
  • Development of the eggs, larvae and pupae of all Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) species require water. (D70)
  • Vegetation is important for the development of larval Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family). (D70)
  • Habitats of larval Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) vary greatly between species and may include small temporary collections of water (puddles etc.) to marshes. The larvae are rarely found in fast-flowing streams or rivers, or large uninterrupted waterbodies such as lakes. (B46)
  • Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera species breed mainly in woodland pools and salt marshes. (B503)
  • All Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) larvae live in water, permanent ponds and marshes, temporary flood waters or woodland pools, water contained in tree holes, leaves of plants, or artificial containers. (D70)
  • Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) larvae are not usually found in flowing streams and the open waters of large streams, lakes and seas. (D70)
  • The larvae of this species are generally found on the parts of the marsh not covered by daily tides; usually pot holes and depressions of various size are utilised, but sometimes large numbers of larvae are found over rather extensive level areas. (D70)

Light:

Pupa
Adult
  • Hibernation / aestivation sites of Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) females are usually relatively dark conditions with an even temperature, such as cellars, barns and lofts under thatched roofs. (B24)

Light:

  • Female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) are active at night and tend to hide in dark corners during the day and also during aestivation / hibernation. (B24)
  • Large numbers of females and males are often collected in light traps, but the adults do not often invade homes. (D70)

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Geographical Distribution, Migration etc.

  • Within the USA, this species is found in the northern states of the United States to south Florida. (D70)

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Status

Intra-specific variation (subspeciation)

 

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Conservation / Pest / Legal Status

  • This species are fierce biters and have been a very severe deterrent to the development of some of the coastal resort areas. (D70)
  • The feeding behaviour of the female adult Culicidae - Mosquitoes (Family) may cause great nuisance to their host species and bites can be painful and may become secondarily infected. (B24, B46, V.w6)

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