General Morphology

Mosquitoes are small (3-6 mm), two-winged insects belonging to the family Culicidae of the order Diptera (two-winged flies). They are easily distinguished from most other flies by a combination of the following characters: a long proboscis projecting forwards from the head; the presence of scales on the wing veins; a fringe of scales along the posterior margin of the wing; and a characteristic wing venation, the second, fourth and fifth longitudinal veins being branched (Goma, 1966).

Males and females can be differentiated by the form of the antennae. In males they are very plumose, while in females they only have a few short hairs. In most others than Anopheles species the maxillary palps in the female are very short in contrast to the male where they are longer than the proboscis. (In both sexes of Anopheles the maxillary palps are long, but clubbed in the male.)

They are Holometabola with the first stage differing completely from the last one in form, structure and habits. Most of the common and important mosquitoes as transmitter of pathogens for animal and man belong to four genera: Anopheles, Culex, Mansonia and Aedes.


Further information

  • Goma LKH: The mosquito. 1966, Hutchinson Tropical Monographs, Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) LTD, London

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