"Transient Water" and "Floodwater" North American Mosquito Habitats:

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Summary Information
Classification Environments / North American Mosquito Habitats:

(This environment section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. It does not contain detailed information on the habitat itself.)

Alternative Names
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General Description "For practical purposes, the numerous species of mosquitoes can be grouped on the basis of similarities in their larval habitat preferences which generally reflect other important aspects of their bionomics and ecology, e.g. oviposition habits, developmental patterns, brood patterns, seasonal density and dispersal." (D70)

There may be overlap between habitat types, and sometimes is a gradation: consequently small numbers of species may occur that would be usually found in a different habitat.

This group of habitats contains a variety of different more specific habitats,

  • Transient Water - pools of a temporary nature as opposed to ponds and lakes.
  • Floodwater - woodland, grassland or vegetated shorelines that are intermittently flooded.


Notes General Information:



  • Typical Habitats - damp grassy and woodland depressions, and salt marshes. (D70, W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)
  • Typical genera - mostly Aedes (Genus) spp.and Psorophora (Genus)- salt-water mosquitoes are also included. The species produce eggs that can withstand desiccation and their life cycle generally require alternating period of wet and dry. (D70, W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)
  • Opportunistic species, such as an opportunistic Culex (Genus) may develop as a single generation during an extended flooded period. (W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)
  • Transient water tend to have water quality changes, which may suit different mosquito species at different times (W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1).
  • When flooded after a period of desiccation, the eggs hatch if conditions (temperature, pH, oxygen concentration, etc.) are favourable; otherwise the eggs remain dormant and viable on the soil until more favourable conditions occur) (D70)
  • Typically, large numbers (broods) are produced at a hatching; larval development is uniform; and adults may appear as early as six days after flooding. Some species produce a single brood (particularly Aedes (Genus) in northern areas), where many Aedes (Genus) and Psorophora produce multiple broods in a given year. They overwinter in the egg stage. (D70)
  • These species are particularly troublesome as pests and some characteristically fly long distances from larval habitats e.g. 5-20 miles for Aedes sollicitans - Saltmarsh mosquito, Aedes dorsalis, Psorophora columbiae; the woodland species such as Aedes atlanticus -/Aedes tormentor - and Psorophora ferox tend to remain near the larval habitat. (D70)
  • Some important vectors and pest species in this ecologic group are Aedes sollicitans - Saltmarsh mosquito, Aedes taeniorhynchus, Aedes atlanticus -/Aedes tormentor -, Aedes thelecter, Aedes dorsalis, Aedes nigromaculis, Aedes vexans, Psorophora ferox, Psorophora columbiae. (D70)

Species Specific Information:

  • Anopheles punctipennis  - Larvae of this species are found in a variety of aquatic habitats including ponds, temporary pools, springs, pools in intermittent streams, borrow pits, roadside puddles, wheel ruts in muddy roads, hog wallows, eddies along the margins of flowing streams, and in rainwater barrels and other artificial containers. This species seems to prefer cool, clear water particularly in hill streams (B505).
  • Culiseta inornata - The larvae of this species are found in ground pools, ditches, and occasionally in artificial water containers, often grossly polluted. They also occur in the brackish water in coastal marshes (B505).
  • Psorophora ciliata - Gallinipper - The larvae occur mainly in unshaded temporary rain-filled pools and may be found in rice fields. (B505)
  • Psorophora ferox - White-footed woods mosquito - The larvae of this species occur in temporary, rain-filled pools, particularly in or near thickets, in overflow pools along streams and occasionally in potholes in stream beds after summer rains. (B505)
  • Ochlerotatus atlanticus - The larvae of this species are typically a "woodland" floodwater species whose larvae are found in flooded woodland bottoms or temporary grass pools in or near woods. (B505, D70)
  • Ochlerotatus tormentor - The larvae of this species have been found in temporary pools following summer rains but are observed to have been rare throughout most of their range. (B505)
  • Ochlerotatus canadensis - Woodland pool mosquito - This mosquito prefers pools with a bottom of dead and decaying leaves, although larvae are also found in roadside puddles, sink holes, wooded swamps and isolated oxbows of small woodland streams. The larvae of develop in temporary or semi-permanent shaded woodlands containing fallen leaves, and to a lesser extent in pools in small stream beds and pools and ditches adjacent to wooded areas. (B505, D70)
  • Ochlerotatus cantator - Brown saltmarsh mosquito - This species is often the dominant species of the salt marshes early in the season. The larvae of this species are found in coastal marshes, including both fresh and salt water, but less brackish water seems to be preferred. Fresh-water pools formed by rains or drainage from the uplands are preferable since larval production is nearly always much heavier on that part of the marsh to the uplands. (B505, D70)
  • Ochlerotatus dorsalis - The larvae occur in a variety of habitats, including brackish and fresh water; they are often found in tidal marshes along the Pacific coast and in saline pools, and also occur in freshwater marshes and in overflow from artesian wells and irrigation ditches. The larvae seem to prefer alkaline water in grassy situations exposed to direct sunlight, but are also occasionally found in more densely shaded pools. (B505)
  • Ochlerotatus melanimon - The larvae of this species have been found along the edge of a small cold clear mountain stream. They have also been described in temporary pools filled by occasional rains. (B505)
  • Ochlerotatus sollicitans - Saltmarsh mosquito - 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)
  • Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus - Black Saltmarsh Mosquito - The larvae of this species develop mostly in salt marshes in coastal areas and occasionally in inland brackish-water swamps, particularly in oil fields, in areas far from the coast. (B505)
  • Ochlerotatus trivitattus - The larvae are found in floodwater pools in meadows, swamps, and woodlands. (B505)
  • Aedes vexans - Inland floodwater mosquito - The larvae of this species are found in temporary rain-filled pools and pools formed by floodwater. The larvae are frequently found in irrigation seepage water. (B505)
  • Aedes cinereus - The larvae are found in woodland pools, unshaded temporary rain-filled pools and occasionally in marshes. It has been observed that the larvae are found particularly along the margins of mountain streams in wooded areas; and also in bogs, grass marshes, in emergent vegetation at the margins of lakes, permanent pools, and abandoned gold prospect holes at elevations less than 1,800 feet. (B505)
  • Culex nigripalpus - The larvae of this species are found in ditches, grassy pools, and marshes of a semi-permanent nature. They are also reported occasionally from water in wheel ruts, leaf axils of plants and artificial containers. (B505)
  • Culex pipiens complex - Northern house mosquito - The larvae are found in foul water in rain barrels, tubs, catch basins, faulty cesspools, ditches and other similar habitats. Water containing vegetable wastes from food-processing plants often provides favourable conditions for larval development. This is a domesticated species developing in association with man. (B505, W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)

  • Culex quinquefasciatus - Southern house mosquito - The larvae are found in foul water in rain barrels, tubs, catch basins, cesspools, ditches, ground pools and other similar habitats. This is domesticated species. (B505, W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)

  • Culex restuans - White dotted mosquito - The larvae are found in a wide variety of aquatic habitats, such as ditches, pools in streams, woodland pools, and artificial containers. This species has a high tolerance to pollution. (B505, W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)

  • Culex salinarius - Unbanded saltmarsh mosquito - The larvae are found either in fresh or foul water in grassy pools, ditches, ponds, occasionally in rain barrels, bilge water in boats, cattle tracks, and sometimes in stump holes. It is also found in brackish water swamps (salt marshes) (B505, W254.Dec03.WNV7, J300.10.w1)

  • Culex stigmatosoma - The larvae of this species are generally found in stagnant or foul water at sewage plants, in street drains, in polluted water on farms especially around dairies, and occasionally in rather clean water. The larvae are sometimes found in artificial containers. It is said that this species finds its optimum breeding conditions in the pools of dry arroyos in southern California. (B505)

  • Culex tarsalis Larvae are found in clear or foul water in a variety of habitats including ditches, irrigation systems, ground pools, marshes, pools in stream beds, rain barrels, hoofprints, and ornamental pools. Foul water in corrals and around slaughter yards appear to be favourite larval habitats in many localities. Larvae have been found at 9,000 feet. (B505)
  • Deinocerites cancer - The larvae of this species develop in water in the holes of sand crabs in the tidal marshes along the coast. They are occasionally found in artificial receptacles such as tin cans. (B505, D70)
Taxa Groups for which information on this Environment has been collated
Mosquito species listed for this habitat that were included for WNV information

Management Techniques

(USA Contacts)

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Authors & Referees

Authors Debra Bourne (V.w5)
Referee Suzanne I. Boardman (V.w6); Becki Lawson (V.w26)

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