Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

  • C. Roxanne Rutledge
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4700

The family Culicidae within the order Diptera, the two-winged flies, comprises of approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes. This family of nematocerous (long-horned primitive flies whose larval head is well developed with laterally moving mandibles) flies is divided into three subfamilies, Toxorhynchitinae, Anophelinae, and Culicinae. There are 37 genera of mosquitoes.


Mosquitoes live in humid tropics and subtropics, warm moist climates, temperate and cool zones, everywhere except areas that are permanently frozen.


Mosquitoes undergo holometabolous, or complete, metamorphosis, meaning their life cycle includes four distinct forms: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Their eggs require water to hatch. The larvae develop through four instars before they transform into active, non-feeding pupae. The adult’s wings, sucking mouthparts, and legs can be seen through the transparent pupal skin. The adult emerges from the pupal skin onto the surface of the water, and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Clements AN (1992) The biology of mosquitoes. Vol 1. Development, nutrition and reproduction. Chapman and Hall. University Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  2. Clements AN (1999) The biology of mosquitoes. Vol 2. Sensory reception and behaviour. Chapman and Hall. University Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  3. Eldridge BF, Edman JD (eds.) (2000) Medical entomology. A textbook on public health and veterinary problems caused by arthropods. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  4. Snodgrass RE (1959) The anatomical life of the mosquito. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol 139, No. 8. Publication 4388. The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Roxanne Rutledge
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida Medical Entomology LabUniversity of FloridaVero BeachUSA