October 30, 2010 11:50 pm
I finally lucked out. I have been wanting to get a shot of a mosquito for awhile and never can. Maybe it’s just me, but I can not just grab my gear and take a photo while they feed on me. I rarely see them other than getting squished on my arm for being invasive. Anyway, onto this girl (I believe it to be a female based on the antennae…do you agree?), I saw this one hanging out on my son’s outdoor playhouse. Talk about accommodating…. she just sat there while I took multiple shots from different angles. I was even able to do some handheld focus stacking which was very helpful. I was so grateful that I didn’t even squash the potentially highly disease/virus carrying insect when I was done. I just let her go on her way to bite me another day. (for the record….mosquitos are about the only insect that I have no problem with killing due to their feeding habits and virus/disease tendencies)
As for ID. I am at a 100% loss beyond the Family Culicidae (Mosquito). If you could give me any help as to the Genre or even Species…I’d be extremely grateful.
Signature: Nathanael Siders
We too are at a loss as to the species identification of this Mosquito. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply a conclusive species identification.
Karl does some research
Hi Daniel and Nathanael:
Whenever I see a mosquito with distinctive white markings, particularly the “white knees”, I automatically think of Aedes sp. My family spent a few years in Papua New Guinea many years ago and we were taught to recognize the key disease carrying types of mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti, which is a vector for dengue fever and yellow fever (this is not A. aegypti, although that introduced species has apparently been recoded in Missouri). The white markings and the pointed abdomen means that this mosquito belongs to one of two genera, Aedes or Psorophora, and based on a number of characteristics I am inclined to go with Aedes. By the way, Nathanael, your photos are really excellent and I am sure that any mosquito expert (and I am not one) would be able to give you a positive ID based on them. Apparently, there have been approximately two dozen Aedes species recorded in Missouri, including both native and introduced species, so I am going out on a limb a little by saying I believe yours is A. japonicus, the non-native Japanese Rock Pool Mosquito. You can access a 2000 paper by McCauley et al. that provides an annotated list of all the mosquitoes of Missouri, although it predates the discovery of A. japonicus in your state. In addition to the arrangement of white spots on the body and legs, the pattern of stripes on the thorax is quite distinctive. Aedes japonicus, an East Asian species, was first reported in the northeastern USA in 1998 and it has been spreading rapidly ever since; to 29 states and Canada by early 2010. It is a relatively new invasive species and a potential disease vector so there is quite a lot of online information. By the way, the species appears to be undergoing a taxonomic revision as many recent reports use the generic name Ochlerotatus instead of Aedes. I hope this helps.
This is an excellent response and thank you so much for all the info. I looked on bugguide.net and couldn’t find an ID at all…..they actually don’t even have a section for Aedes japonicfus as well as many other Aedes species found in Missouri that you listed. I will bookmark your links to use as a reference in the meantime and have contacted bugguide.net about having one of their experts look at the images and consider making a guide page for them.
Thank you again. I particularly appreciate the background info on the Genera and species. I’m always interested to know as much about the insects I shoot as possible.