Culex Fed & Non-fed
Closeup of a Fed Culex
Culex larvae below water surface
Culex pupa below water surface
Culex: Egg, Pupa & Larvae
Characteristics & Habitat
Depending on the species, the adult Culex mosquito may measure from 4 to 10mm (0.2 to 0.4 in). The adult females have short palps and tends keep their bodies horizontal when at rest. The Culex larvae float with head low and only the siphon at the tail held at the surface. They mainly breed in polluted stagnant water and clogged drains.
This blood sucking flies bite at night and usually rest indoor before and after the blood meal. Occasionally they may rest outdoor. Culex are long distance fliers.
Like other mosquito species, the male and female locates organic substances produced by the host, in this case, human produces carbon dioxide, humidity and its optical ability to recognitise humans.
The developmental cycle of most species takes about two weeks in warm weather. The female lays eggs in rafts of as many as 300 on the water’s surface. Suitable habitats for egg-laying are small bodies of standing fresh water: puddles, pools, ditches, tin cans, buckets, bottles, and water storage tanks. The tiny cigar-shaped dark brown eggs adhere to each other through adhesion forces, not any kind of cement, and are easily separated. Eggs hatch only in the presence of water and the larvae are obligately aquatic, linear in form, and maintain their position and mostly-vertical attitude in water by movements of their bristly mouthparts. To swim, they lash the body back and forth through the water. The eggs takes around 6 to 10 days to develop into adults.
During the larval stage, the insect lives submerged in water and feeds on particles of organic matter, microscopic organisms or plant material; after several instars it then develops into a pupa. Unlike the larva, the pupa is comma-shaped. It does not feed, but can swim in rapid jerking motions to avoid potential predators. It must remain in regular contact with the surface in order to breathe, but it must not become desiccated. After 24-48 hours the pupa ruptures and the adult emerges from the shed exoskeleton.
Disease & Risks
Diseases borne by one or more species of Culex mosquitoes vary in their dependence on the species of vector. Some are rarely and only incidentally transmitted by Culex species
The diseases they vector include:
Arbovirus Infections include West Nile virus, Japanese Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis and Western and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Nematode Infections, mainly forms of filariasis may be borne by Culex species as well as by other mosquitoes and blood-sucking flies.
Avian Malaria which contains Protist parasites in the phylum Apicomplexa.
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