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Datasheet

Culex quinquefasciatus
(southern house mosquito)

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Datasheet

Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Vector of Animal Disease
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Culex quinquefasciatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • southern house mosquito
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Culex quinquefasciatus is a peridomestic mosquito seldom found far from human residence or activity, and readily feeds on avian, mammalian or human hosts.  The larvae are typically found in the eutrophic water...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female, feeding on a human finger. USA.
TitleAdult
CaptionCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female, feeding on a human finger. USA.
CopyrightPublic Domain/released by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - Original photograph by James Gathany
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female, feeding on a human finger. USA.
AdultCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female, feeding on a human finger. USA.Public Domain/released by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - Original photograph by James Gathany
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female at rest. USA.
TitleAdult female
CaptionCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female at rest. USA.
Copyright©Dr Peter Bryant - 2008
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female at rest. USA.
Adult femaleCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); adult female at rest. USA.©Dr Peter Bryant - 2008
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); egg raft. USA.
TitleEggs
CaptionCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); egg raft. USA.
CopyrightPublic Domain/released by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - Original photograph by Harry Weinburgh
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); egg raft. USA.
EggsCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); egg raft. USA.Public Domain/released by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - Original photograph by Harry Weinburgh
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); larva. USA.
TitleLarva
CaptionCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); larva. USA.
Copyright©Dr Peter Bryant - 2008
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); larva. USA.
LarvaCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); larva. USA.©Dr Peter Bryant - 2008
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); pupa. USA.
TitlePupa
CaptionCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); pupa. USA.
Copyright©Dr Peter Bryant - 2008
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); pupa. USA.
PupaCulex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito); pupa. USA.©Dr Peter Bryant - 2008

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Culex quinquefasciatus Say 1823

Preferred Common Name

  • southern house mosquito

Other Scientific Names

  • Culex acer Walker 1848
  • Culex aestuans Wiedemann 1828
  • Culex aikenii Dyar and Knab
  • Culex albolineatus Giles
  • Culex anxifer Bigot
  • Culex aseyehae Dyar and Knab
  • Culex autumnalis Weyenbergh
  • Culex barbarus Dyar and Knab
  • Culex cartroni Ventrillon
  • Culex christophersii Theobald
  • Culex cingulatus Doleschall 1856
  • Culex cubensis Bigot
  • Culex didieri Neveu-Lemaire
  • Culex doleschallii Giles
  • Culex fatigans Wiedemann 1828
  • Culex fouchowensis Theobald
  • Culex fuscus Taylor
  • Culex goughii Theobald
  • Culex hensemaeon Dyar
  • Culex lachrimans Dyar and Knab
  • Culex luteoannulatus Theobald
  • Culex macleayi Skuse
  • Culex minor Theobald
  • Culex nigrirostris Enderlein
  • Culex pallidocephala Theobald
  • Culex penafieli Sanchez
  • Culex pungens Wiedemann 1828
  • Culex pygmaeus Neveu-Lemaire
  • Culex quasilinealis Theobald
  • Culex quasipipiens Theobald
  • Culex raymondii Tamayo
  • Culex reesi Theobald
  • Culex revocator Dyar and Knab
  • Culex sericeus Theobald
  • Culex serotinus Philippi
  • Culex skusii Giles
  • Culex stoehri Theobald
  • Culex townsvillensis Taylor
  • Culex trilineatus Theobald
  • Culex zeltneri Neveu-Lemaire

International Common Names

  • English: tropical house mosquito

Local Common Names

  • Australia: brown house mosquito
  • Iran: wastewater mosquito
  • USA/Hawaii: night mosquito

Summary of Invasiveness

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Culex quinquefasciatus is a peridomestic mosquito seldom found far from human residence or activity, and readily feeds on avian, mammalian or human hosts.  The larvae are typically found in the eutrophic water of artificial containers or man-made impoundments including open ponds, ditches and drains containing human or animal sewage. As such, Culex quinquefasciatus was uniquely adapted to the environs of historical sailing ships outfitted for long voyages where polluted water and livestock were common.  Since adult mosquitoes can fly short distances to shore (Subra, 1981; LaPointe, 2008) and immature forms could be carried ashore in water casks taken to be refilled (Hardy, 1960), it is likely that this mosquito was spread worldwide by commercial sailing vessels involved in the Atlantic slave trade, Old China trade and American whale oil industry between the 17 and 19th centuries (Lounibos, 2002). Today, adult Cx. quinquefasciatus are among the most commonly intercepted mosquitoes in passenger airline cabins and their larvae can still be found in exposed cargo (tyres and heavy equipment) and containers on modern ships (Joyce, 1961; Smith and Carter, 1984; Scholte, 2010). 

As a nuisance biter, this mosquito may contribute to economic loss in small island nations of the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean that are dependent on tourism.  As the main vector of the disabling disease lymphatic filariasis (LF), it has caused great health, social and economic harm to an estimated 40 million people throughout South-east Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean (WHO, 2012). As a vector of St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV) and West Nile virus (WNV) in the southern United States and Mexico, Cx. quinquefasciatus is responsible for deaths, illness and economic loss (CDC, 2012).  As the vector of avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum, PR) and Avipoxvirus (APV) it has a significant ecological impact on island avifaunas throughout the world (Hawaii, Galapagos, New Zealand, etc.) (LaPointe et al., 2012; Bataille et al., 2009). Culex quinquefasciatus is an ISSG listed species.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Diptera
  •                         Family: Culicidae
  •                             Genus: Culex
  •                                 Species: Culex quinquefasciatus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Culex quinquefasciatus belongs to the globally distributed Culex pipiens species complex which contains a number of related species, ecotypes or forms and hybrids that occur along geographical introgression zones on multiple continents (Farajollahi et al., 2011).  Thomas Say first described the species in 1823 from a specimen collected along the Mississippi River in the southern United States. Since that time a number of similar species around the world have been synonymized with Cx. quinquefasciatus, most notably Culex fatigansWiedemann (1828) from the Old World tropics (Stone, 1956; Belkin, 1977).  Females of Culex pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus are morphologically indistinguishable and hybrid zones for the two species are well documented. This led to the designation of Culex quinquefasciatus as a subspecies of Cx. pipiens with the name Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus (Barr, 1957).  More recent studies have documented distinct sympatric populations of Cx. pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus (Cornel et al., 2003) and clear genetic differences (Smith and Fonseca, 2004) that have led, once again, to the elevation of Cx. quinquefasciatus to species status. The other currently recognized species and subspecies in the species complex are Culex pipiens pipiens, Culex pipiens pallens, Culex globocoxitus, and Culex australicus (Farajollahi et al., 2011). Two forms are recognized in Cx. pipiens pipiens; form pipiens undergoes winter diapause and requires a blood meal for egg production while form molestus does not undergo diapause and is able to lay eggs without a primary blood meal (autogeny) (Fonseca et al., 2006; Farajollahi et al., 2011).

Description

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Culex quinquefasciatus is a medium-sized (approx. 4 mm) mosquito, predominately golden brown in coloration with solid coloured legs and a characteristic white-banded abdomen. The original type specimen collected from the Mississippi River in the southern United States by Thomas Say was lost but type specimens from C.R.W. Wiedemann’s 1828 description of Culex fatigans = quinquefasciatus still exist in the Naturhistorisches Museum of Vienna.  A contemporary specimen of Cx. quinquefasciatus from New Orleans has since been designated as a neotype (Belkin, 1977).

Distribution

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Culex quinquefasciatus is believed to be native to the lowlands of West Africa from where it has been spread throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions by the agency of man (Belkin, 1962; Vinogradova, 2000). It is believed to have reached the New World via slave ships and later spread throughout Asia and the Pacific aboard whaling and merchant ships. However, recent molecular analysis of global populations suggests that the origins of Cx. quinquefasciatus may be more complicated than previously thought.  An alternative hypothesis is that it originated in Southeast Asia and colonized Africa after becoming established in the New World (Fonseca et al., 2006). Whether originating in Africa or Asia, Cx. quinquefasciatus has been introduced throughout the tropical/subtropical New World and Oceania.  In the Americas, it ranges from 36° N to 33° S (Uruguay), a latitudinal distribution consistent throughout much of the Old World and Oceania. The main exceptions to this distribution are the Central Highlands of Africa and the extensive deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Australia (Farajollahi et al., 2011). Typically, introduced Culex quinquefasciatus initially appears in seaports, spreads along coastal areas and eventually moves inland following routes of human habitation and activity (Mattingly et al., 1951). In some insular environments, it has become established in more natural environments using natural containers and rock pools as larval habitats (Becker, 1995; LaPointe et al., 2009).  On remote oceanic islands and atolls with depauperate or absent endemic mosquito fauna, introduced Cx. quinquefasciatus are clearly invasive, spreading to all available domestic, peridomestic  and natural larval habitats. Once established on these islands Cx. quinquefasciatus may vector pathogens associated with avian malaria, avian pox virus, human filariasis and encephalitis causing harm to endemic species, ecosystems and local economies.

There are distribution models for this species and its vectored diseases at http://www.vectormap.org.

The ‘Notes’ field of the distribution table includes information on where the species acts as a vector of lymphatic filariasis (LF), West Nile virus (WNV) St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV), Avipoxvirus (APV) and avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum, PR).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanWidespreadHarbach, 1988
BahrainWidespreadHarbach, 1988
BangladeshWidespread Invasive Arif-ul-Hasan et al., 2009Vector of LF
Brunei DarussalamWidespreadFakhriedzwan et al., 2011
CambodiaWidespread Invasive Kohn, 1990Vector of LF
Chagos ArchipelagoWidespreadIntroduced1969 Invasive Lambrecht and Someren, 1971First reported in 1969 (not present in 1905)
ChinaWidespreadCui et al., 2007
-GuangdongWidespreadYuan et al., 2000
-ShanghaiWidespreadFonseca et al., 2009
-YunnanWidespreadSun et al., 2009
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)WidespreadIntroduced Invasive Harrington, 2009
Cocos IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Harrington, 2009
East TimorWidespread Invasive Lee et al., 1989Vector of LF
IndiaWidespread Invasive Barraud, 1934Vector of LF
-Andhra PradeshWidespread Invasive Kanhekar et al., 1994
-AssamWidespread Invasive Manas Sarkar et al., 2009
-GoaWidespread Invasive Kaliwal et al., 2010
-GujaratWidespread Invasive Sharma et al., 2010
-HaryanaWidespread Invasive Sharma et al., 2010
-Indian PunjabWidespread Invasive Sharma et al., 2010
-Jammu and KashmirWidespread Invasive Sharma et al., 2010
-KeralaWidespread Invasive Samuel et al., 2004
-Madhya PradeshWidespread Invasive Sharma et al., 2010
-RajasthanWidespread Invasive Sharma et al., 2010
-West BengalWidespread Invasive De and Chandra, 1994
IndonesiaVector of LF
-Irian JayaWidespread Invasive Lee et al., 1989
-JavaWidespread Invasive Stoops et al., 2008
-MoluccasWidespread Invasive Lee et al., 1989
-Nusa TenggaraWidespread Invasive Lee et al., 1989
-SulawesiWidespread Invasive Sunahara et al., 1998
-SumatraWidespread Invasive Brug and Rook, 1930
IranWidespreadHarbach, 1988
IraqWidespreadHarbach, 1988
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HonshuWidespreadYoshida et al., 2011
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoWidespreadOda et al., 2002; Kasai et al., 2008
Korea, Republic ofWidespreadFonseca et al., 2009
KuwaitWidespreadHarbach, 1988
LaosWidespreadVythilingam et al., 2006
MalaysiaVector of LF
-Peninsular MalaysiaWidespread Invasive Nazni et al., 2005
-SabahWidespread Invasive Rohani et al., 2008
-SarawakWidespread Invasive MacDonald et al., 1967
MaldivesWidespreadSubra, 1981
MyanmarWidespreadReuben et al., 1994
NepalWidespreadHarbach, 1988
OmanWidespreadHarbach, 1988
PakistanWidespreadHarbach, 1988
PhilippinesWidespreadDuran and Stevenson, 1983
QatarWidespreadHarbach, 1988
Saudi ArabiaWidespreadHarbach, 1988
SingaporeWidespreadReuben et al., 1994
Sri LankaWidespread Invasive Reuben et al., 1994Vector of LF
TaiwanWidespreadLien, 1962
ThailandWidespreadBram, 1967
United Arab EmiratesWidespreadHarbach, 1988
VietnamWidespreadReuben et al., 1994
YemenWidespread Invasive Harbach, 1988Vector of LF

Africa

AngolaWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
BeninWidespread Invasive Djènontin et al., 2010Vector of LF
BotswanaWidespreadCurtis and Hawkins, 1982
Burkina FasoWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
BurundiWidespread Invasive WHO, 2009aVector of LF
CameroonWidespreadSubra, 1981Vector of LF
Cape VerdeWidespreadAlves et al., 2010
Central African RepublicLocalisedSubra, 1981Restricted to big towns
ComorosWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
CongoWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
Congo Democratic RepublicWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
Côte d'IvoireWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
DjiboutiWidespread Invasive Harbach, 1988Vector of LF
Equatorial GuineaWidespread Invasive Toto et al., 2003Vector of LF
EritreaWidespread Invasive Shililu et al., 2003Vector of LF
EthiopiaWidespreadHarbach, 1988
GabonWidespread Invasive Coffinet et al., 2007Vector of LF
GhanaWidespread Invasive Kudom et al., 2012Vector of LF
GuineaWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
Guinea-BissauWidespread Invasive Hamon et al., 1967Vector of LF
KenyaWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
LiberiaWidespread Invasive Hamon et al., 1967Vector of LF
MadagascarWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
MalawiWidespread Invasive Merelo-Lobo et al., 2003Vector of LF
MaliWidespreadSubra, 1981
MauritaniaWidespreadHarbach, 1988
MauritiusWidespreadSubra, 1981
MayotteWidespreadSubra, 1981
MozambiqueWidespread Invasive Harbach, 1988Vector of LF
NamibiaWidespreadKamwi et al., 2012
NigeriaWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
RéunionWidespreadSubra, 1981
RwandaWidespread Invasive WHO, 2009bVector of LF
Saint HelenaWidespreadMedlock et al., 2010
Sao Tome and PrincipeWidespreadSubra, 1981
SenegalWidespreadHarbach, 1988
SeychellesWidespreadIntroduced<1835 Invasive Subra, 1981; Goff et al., 2012Granite substrate islands only. Vector of LF
Sierra LeoneWidespread Invasive Hamon et al., 1967Vector of LF
SomaliaWidespread Invasive WHO, 2009c
South AfricaWidespreadHarbach, 1988
SudanWidespread Invasive Harbach, 1988Vector of LF
TanzaniaWidespread Invasive Subra, 1981Vector of LF
-ZanzibarWidespreadSubra, 1981
TogoWidespread Invasive Dery et al., 2013Vector of LF
UgandaWidespread Invasive Harbach, 1988Vector of LF
ZambiaWidespread Invasive Norris and Norris, 2011Vector of LF
ZimbabweWidespread Invasive Sivagnaname et al., 2005Vector of LF

North America

BermudaWidespreadIntroducedWilliams, 1956
MexicoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Garcia-Rejon et al., 2010Vector of SLEV and WNV
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-ArizonaWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-ArkansasWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of SLEV and WNV
-CaliforniaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of SLEV
-District of ColumbiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-FloridaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of SLEV and WNV
-GeorgiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced1826 Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Main islands and Midway Atoll. Vector of APV and PR
-IllinoisWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-IndianaWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-IowaWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-KansasWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-KentuckyWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-LouisianaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of SLEV and WNV
-MarylandWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-MississippiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-MissouriWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of SLEV and WNV
-NebraskaWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-NevadaWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-New MexicoWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-North CarolinaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-OhioWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-OklahomaWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-South CarolinaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-TennesseeWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV
-TexasWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of SLEV and WNV
-UtahWidespreadIntroducedDarsie and Ward, 1981
-VirginiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981
-West VirginiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Darsie and Ward, 1981Vector of WNV

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976a
Antigua and BarbudaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976a
ArubaWidespreadIntroducedvan der Kuyp, 1954
BahamasWidespreadIntroducedPorter, 1967
BarbadosWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976c
BelizeWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Heinemann and Belkin, 1977b
British Virgin IslandsWidespreadIntroducedPorter, 1967
Cayman IslandsWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1975
Costa RicaWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1977a
CubaWidespreadIntroducedSantamarina-Mijares and Pérez-Pacheco, 1997
CuraçaoWidespreadIntroducedvan der Kuyp, 1954
DominicaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976c
Dominican RepublicWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Porter, 1967Vector of LF
El SalvadorWidespreadIntroducedPorter, 1967
GrenadaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976c
GuadeloupeWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976b
GuatemalaWidespreadIntroducedKent et al., 2010
HaitiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Porter, 1967Vector of LF
HondurasWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1977b
JamaicaWidespreadIntroducedPorter, 1967
MartiniqueWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976b
MontserratWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976a
Netherlands AntillesWidespreadIntroducedvan der Kuyp, 1954
NicaraguaWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1977b
PanamaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Heinemann and Belkin, 1978a
Puerto RicoWidespreadIntroducedPorter, 1967
Saint Kitts and NevisWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1975
Saint LuciaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976c
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesWidespreadIntroducedBelkin and Heinemann, 1976c
Trinidad and TobagoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Heinemann et al., 1980
United States Virgin IslandsWidespreadIntroducedPorter, 1967

South America

ArgentinaWidespreadIntroducedMorais et al., 2010
BoliviaLocalisedPeyton et al., 1983
BrazilWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Heinemann and Belkin, 1979Vector of LF on the NE coast
-Mato GrossoWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1979
-ParaWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1979
-Rio de JaneiroWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1979
-Sao PauloWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1979
ChileWidespreadIntroducedRueda et al., 2008
-Easter IslandWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
ColombiaWidespreadIntroducedRodríguez Coto et al., 2000
EcuadorWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1979
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedWhiteman et al., 2005Introduced in 1985. Vector of APV and PR.
French GuianaWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1978b
GuyanaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Heinemann and Belkin, 1978bVector of LF
ParaguayWidespreadIntroducedKochalka, 2008
PeruWidespreadIntroducedRichards et al., 2012
SurinameWidespreadIntroducedHeinemann and Belkin, 1978b; Hiwat et al., 2011
UruguayWidespreadIntroducedRossi and Martínez, 2003
VenezuelaWidespreadIntroducedRodríguez Coto et al., 2000

Europe

GreecePresentWalter Reed Biosystematics Unit, 2012

Oceania

American SamoaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
AustraliaWidespreadIntroduced1788Marks, 1972
-Australian Northern TerritoryWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
-New South WalesWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
-QueenslandWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
-South AustraliaWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
-VictoriaLocalisedIntroducedLee et al., 1989Less common south of central highlands
-Western AustraliaWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
Cook IslandsWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
FijiWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
French PolynesiaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
GuamWidespreadIntroducedRueda et al., 2011
KiribatiWidespreadIntroducedBohart, 1957
Marshall IslandsWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
Micronesia, Federated states ofWidespreadIntroducedRueda et al., 2011
NauruWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
New CaledoniaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
New ZealandLocalisedIntroduced<1848 Invasive Weinstein et al., 1997Vector of APV and PR
NiueWidespreadIntroducedHuang, 1977
Norfolk IslandWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
Northern Mariana IslandsWidespreadIntroducedRueda et al., 2011Rota, Saipan, Tinian
PalauWidespreadIntroducedBohart, 1957
Papua New GuineaWidespreadIntroducedLee et al., 1989
Pitcairn IslandWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
SamoaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
Solomon IslandsWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
TokelauWidespreadIntroducedMarks, 1972
TongaWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
TuvaluWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
US Minor Outlying IslandsLocalisedIntroduced1949Joyce, 1961Palmyra Atoll
VanuatuWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962
Wake IslandWidespreadIntroduced1941Joyce, 1961
Wallis and Futuna IslandsWidespreadIntroducedBelkin, 1962

History of Introduction and Spread

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The global spread of Cx. quinquefasciatus appears to have occurred in four main phases: 1) spread in the Old World tropics and introduction to the New World and Australia via sailing vessels involved in the slave trade and colonization (Australia) before 1800 (Belkin, 1962); 2) spread to New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, the Seychelles and other larger islands and archipelagos in the Pacific and Indian oceans via sailing vessels associated with the American whaling industry during the 19th century (Lounibos, 2002); 3) spread to smaller Pacific atolls of military significance during World War II by military ships and aircraft (Ward, 1984); and 4) finally, spread to remote islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans in the current age of commercial airline travel (Bataille et al., 2009).  On a regional level, Cx. quinquefasciatus first appears in ports, rapidly spreads along the coast and gradually spreads into the interior. In West and Central Africa prior to the 1940s it was known from a number of scattered areas mostly along the coast or the Congo River (Subra, 1981).  After World War II, however, it quickly became the most prevalent species in large villages and towns and by 1980 had become the dominant species in urban areas throughout West and central Africa (Subra, 1981). In the case of the Seychelles, it was probably present in Port Victoria on Mahé as early as 1835 when human filariasis was reported in the local population, but remained restricted in its distribution until the later part of the 20th century when it spread throughout the archipelago (Goff et al., 2012; Subra, 1981). Cx.quinquefasciatus spread more rapidly after its accidental introduction into the Hawaiian Islands at Lahiana, Maui in 1826 aboard the ship “Wellington” from San Blas, Mexico (Dine, 1904); by the late 19th century, it had not become established in the inland town of Makawao, Maui, but was already common throughout the main islands along the coasts and at lower elevations (Perkins, 1933).  A few decades later it was reported from remote high elevation sites in the islands’ interiors (Swezey and Williams, 1932).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia ~ 1788 Yes No Harrington (2009) Sailing ship
Galapagos Islands Ecuador 1985 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No Bataille et al. (2009) Aeroplane
Hawaii Mexico 1826 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No Fonseca et al. (2000) Sailing ship. Uncertain where introduced from.
New Zealand Australia <1848 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No Lounibos (2002) Sailing ship. Uncertain where introduced from.

Risk of Introduction

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Culex quinquefasciatus has already become established throughout most of the tropical and subtropical world.  Since it is one of the most frequently intercepted mosquitoes found aboard aircraft (Smith and Carter, 1984), remaining Cx. quinquefasciatus-free islands or atolls in the tropics are at high risk of introduction by commercial air or sea traffic.  Increases in air traffic to remote islands and atolls, for example for tourism, therefore increases the risk of introduction while increases in permanent human populations and activities further increase the risk of establishment of Cx. quinquefasciatus by increasing favourable larval habitat (Bataille et al., 2009).  As it is a vector of human and animal disease, continued introductions of Cx. quinquefasciatus are significant as they increase the risk of introduction of pathogens or genetic material that may alter vector competence or insecticide resistance (Kilpatrick et al., 2004; Kilpatrick et al., 2006). In continental areas, expansion of the latitudinal and altitudinal range of Cx. quinquefasciatus may occur following increases in winter temperatures due to climate change. Climate change may also alter the arid conditions of the Sahara and central Australia allowing for the spread of Cx. quinquefasciatus. Increased urbanization, reduced sanitation and widespread insecticide use are additional factors that favor the geographical spread of this peridomestic mosquito; urbanization and decreasing sanitation lead to increases in larval habitat while insecticide use limits competition from more susceptible species (Subra, 1981).

Habitat

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Culex quinquefasciatus is a domestic to peridomestic mosquito associated with human residence and activity throughout most of its range (Subra, 1981).  In some remote insular environments it has become established in natural areas. As this species cannot undergo reproductive diapause and does not have drought-resistant eggs, it is limited to the tropical and subtropical non-arid regions of the world.  Larval habitats are, primarily, artificial containers and man-made impoundments such as ditches, ground pools, and stock ponds (Subra, 1981). In more natural areas larvae can be found in tree holes, rock holes, ground pools, stream margins, coconut husks and spadix sheaths (Subra, 1981; Becker, 1995; LaPointe et al., 2009). The larvae prefer eutrophic waters with a high organic content. Exceptionally high densities of larvae may be found in the septic water associated with oxidation ponds, sewage drains, cesspools, and septic tanks.  Adults readily feed on blood from a variety of vertebrates including wild and domestic birds and mammals as well as man (Farajollahi et al., 2011). The minimal habitat resources (semi-permanent eutrophic water and a vertebrate blood host) to sustain a population of Cx. quinquefasciatus could be found in the hold of European sailing ships, enabling the species to spread around the world by this method (Lounibos, 2002).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Ponds Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rivers / streams Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-managed
Buildings Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rocky areas / lava flows Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Owing to its long-standing taxonomic controversy and importance as a vector of human filariasis, Cx. quinquefasciatus has been the subject of considerable genetic research (Fonseca et al. 2006).  It has three metacentric chromosomes, the shortest designated as chromosome 1, one of intermediate length designated as 2, and the longest designated as 3 (McAbee et al., 2007). It is one of three mosquito species with a completely sequenced genome, and its number of protein-coding genes (18,883) is 22% larger than that of Aedes aegypti and 52% larger than that of Anopheles gambiae, with multiple gene-family expansions, including olfactory and gustatory receptors, salivary gland genes, and genes associated with xenobiotic detoxification (Arensburger et al., 2010). Extensive research over the years has looked at the genetics of pesticide resistance in Cx. quinquefasciatus (Yang & Lui, 2011).  More recent research has just begun to examine the genetic association of host-seeking behavior and vector competence (Bartholomay et al., 2010). Transgenesis of Cx. quinquefasciatus has been achieved (Allen et al., 2001; Allen & Christensen, 2004).

Reproductive Biology

Gravid Cx quinquefasciatus females lay a single egg raft averaging 155 eggs during each gonotrophic (egg laying) cycle; the number of eggs depends on mosquito age, blood source and blood volume (Subra, 1981; Richards et al., 2012). Egg rafts are laid on the surface of a suitable body of water selected using chemical cues derived from conspecific egg rafts (Laurence & Pickett, 1985) and the decomposition of organic matter (Millar et al., 1992). Larval to adult development is dependent on temperature, nutrition and population density and can be as short as at 7 days under optimal conditions (30°C) (Rueda et al., 1990). Females mate within 2-6 days of emerging and may begin to seek hosts within 48 hours of emergence (Subra, 1981). Since Cx. quinquefasciatus must acquire a blood meal for reproduction and does not undergo a reproductive diapause, this species is active and reproduces year-round. In India, it may complete 2-3 gonotrophic cycles in a lifetime during the hotter season and 4-8 cycles in the cooler season (Gowda et al., 1992; Chandra et al., 1996).

Physiology and Phenology

In tropical areas with a distinct rainy season, populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus usually reach their peak densities during or just following the rainy season (Subra, 1981). In more subtropical and warm temperate areas, peak populations occur during the warmest months of the year (Mitchell et al., 1980; Ahumada et al., 2004).

Longevity

Adult female Cx. quinquefasciatus live on average one month when provided with a source of carbohydrates and held at a constant temperature of 28°C (Vrzal et al., 2010). Captive longevity is increased dramatically at lower temperatures (15°C) (Gunay et al., 2010).

Activity Patterns

Culex quinquefasciatus is a crepuscular to nocturnal mosquito, restricting adult emergence, mating and oviposition behaviours to dusk and blood feeding activity to the middle night hours (20.00-02.00) (Subra, 1981; Savage et al., 2008).

Population Size and Structure

Population densities for adult Culex quinquefasciatus vary dramatically with season and the quantity and quality of larval habitat.  In southern California, seasonal peak densities have been recorded ranging from 400 females/hectare in suburban Los Angeles to 7000 females/hectare in rural Chino where nearby dairy farm operations support mosquito production (Reisen et al., 1991).  In São Paulo, Brazil, a density of 57,000 females/hectare was estimated in parkland alongside a sewage-polluted canal (Laporta and Sallum, 2011).

Nutrition

Culex quinquefasciatus larvae are filter feeders that consume various microorganisms and detritus from the water column and surface (Merritt et al,. 1992). Like other mosquitoes, adults require carbohydrates derived from plant nectar and exudates for long-term survival (Foster 1995). Without a blood meal or carbohydrate source, adult mosquitoes will not survive beyond a few < 5) days (Vrzal et al., 2010). Additional protein, derived from a vertebrate blood meal, is required by females to produce each synchronous egg batch. Female Cx. quinquefasciatus are opportunistic blood feeders and will readily feed on birds, mammals or humans, although populations may show some preference for certain host taxa. On average they feed approimately 71% on birds, 26% on mammals and 3% on humans (Farajollahi et al., 2011).

Associations

Culex quinquefasciatus larvae are often found in association with Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in domestic and peridomestic water containers that are not heavily polluted (Subra, 1981). Throughout Africa, Culex cinereus larvae may be found in pit latrines along with Cx. quinquefasciatus but will often displace the latter species.  This species displacement is reversed if insecticides or detergent pollutants are present in the water (Subra et al., 1984).  A number of other mosquito species may co-occur with Cx. quinquefasciatus in peridomestic habitat, such as Culex nigripalpus in the southern United States (Hribar et al., 2004) and Culex australicus, Culex annulirostris, Culex pervigilans, Aedes polynesiensis, Aedes notoscriptus, Aedes hebrideus, Aedes pernotatus and Tripteroides melanesiensis in the tropical Pacific (Laird, 1988; Laird 1995). In septic habitats Cx. quinquefasciatus larvae are often found in association with psychodid moth fly larvae (Hribar et al., 2004; Su et al., 2003).

Environmental Requirements

The optimal temperature range for embryonic development in Cx. quinquefasciatus is 24 to 29°C. Larvae attain their highest weight and survivorship when developing at temperatures between 20 and 24°C. Survivorship drops at low (≤ 12°C) and high (≥ 32°C) temperatures with an upper lethal threshold at 35°C. Adults are able to survive and reproduce in a wide range of temperatures, including even constant temperatures as high as 32°C. Favourable larval habitats are typically high in soluble salt, free ammonia, nitrates and organic carbon. The larvae prefer slightly alkaline water < pH 8) with little to no (≤ 0.5%) NaCl, CaCl2 and NaCO3 (Mitchell et al., 1980).

Natural Food Sources

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Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
bacteria/detritus Larval 100
nectar Adult 50
vertebrate blood Adult 50

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Tolerated < 860mm precipitation annually
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Tolerated Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
36 33

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) 0 0 Optimum Mitchell et al., 1980
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 6 Optimum Fakhriedzwan et al., 2011
Water pH (pH) 7 8 Optimum Mitchell et al., 1980
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 20 23 Optimum Mitchell et al., 1980. 12-32 degrees tolerated.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Lagenidium giganteum Pathogen Larvae not specific USA
Lysinibacillus sphaericus Pathogen Larvae not specific Worldwide
Macrocyclops albidus Predator Larvae not specific USA (Lousiana)
Poecilia reticulata Predator Larvae not specific USA, Thailand, Burma, Tanzania
Toxorhynchites rutilus Predator Larvae not specific USA
Toxorhynchites splendens Predator Larvae not specific Japan

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A number of cyclopoid copepods like Macrocyclops albidus, Megacyclops latipes and Acanthocyclops vernalis in Louisiana naturally feed on first instar Cx. quinquefasciatus larvae (Marten et al., 2000). There is growing evidence that interspecific predation of first instars among co-occurring mosquito species is common in nature (Muturi et al., 2010). Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are often listed as natural enemies of mosquito larvae but only a few studies have examined odonate predation of Cx. quinquefasciatus (Mandal et al., 2008; Hobbelen et al., 2012). The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis serovar. israelensis probably occurs in natural populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus since it was initially isolated from Cx. pipiens pipiens (Goldberg and Margalit, 1977). Many other general pathogens, parasites and predators of larval mosquitoes have been evaluated as biocontrol agents of Cx. quinquefasciatus either in the laboratory or the field. A partial list includes the nucleopolyhedrovirus CuniNPV (Culex nigripalpus nucleopolyhedrovirus) (Becnel et al., 2001), the bacterium Lysinibacillus sphaericus (Bacillus sphaericus) (Floore et al., 2002), the fungus Lagenidium giganteum (Guzman and Axtell, 1987), the nematode Strelkovimermis spiculatus (Rodriguez et al., 2003), the planarian Dugesia tigrina (Melo and Andrade, 2001), and the fish Poecilia reticulata (Manna et al., 2008).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Within the first 24 hours, most adult Cx. quinquefasciatus disperse less than 100 metres from the emergence site (Subra, 1981).  In favourable environments further movement may not exceed several hundred metres, but under more rural conditions, mean distance dispersed can range from 1 to 3 km with some individuals reaching distances of 5 to 11 kilometers (Subra, 1981).  Wind and roadways appears to aid these longer movements (LaPointe, 2008).

Long-distance dispersal to new regions is by ship or aeroplane as described in other sections.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
HitchhikerLarvae in bilge water or cargo. Adults in cargo or aeroplane cabins. Yes Bataille et al., 2009; Joyce, 1961; Lounibos, 2002; Smith and Carter, 1984
Military movementsLarvae in bilge water or cargo. Adults in cargo or aeroplane cabins. Yes Joyce, 1961; Lounibos, 2002; Ward, 1984
Self-propelledAdults may fly relatively short, < 10 km, distances. Yes Lapointe, 2008; Subra, 1981

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AircraftAdult Yes Yes Gratz et al., 2000
Bulk freight or cargoAdult and larvae Yes Yes Joyce, 1961
Containers and packaging - non-woodAdult and larvae Yes Yes Joyce, 1961
Machinery and equipmentLarvae Yes Yes Joyce, 1961
Ship bilge waterLarvae Yes Yes
Ship structures above the water lineAdult and larvae Yes Yes Howard et al., 1912
WaterLarvae Yes Yes Dine, 1904

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Negative

Economic Impact

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Culex quinquefasciatus is the main vector of the human filarial nematode, Wuchereria bancrofti, throughout the tropical/subtropical world (Subra, 1981). Lymphatic filariasis affects some 120 million people (an additional 1.3 billion are at risk) and causes almost $1.3 billion a year in lost productivity (Conteh et al., 2010). In the southern United States, Cx. quinquefasciatus is an important vector of St. Louis virus (Mitchell et al., 1980) and West Nile virus (WNV) (Richards et al., 2010), and while the number of people afflicted is less than for lymphatic filariasis, the economic costs of disease surveillance, vector control and medical expenses to local governments are significant. The total economic impact of a recent WNV outbreak in Sacramento County, California was estimated at $3 million (Barber et al., 2010). Cx. quinquefasciatus can also transmit pathogens to livestock and companion animals resulting in loss of productivity and death.  These diseases include avian pox, avian malaria, Rift Valley fever, West Nile encephalitis and canine dirofilariasis (dog heartworm) (Subra 1981; Lee et al. 1989).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

There is some evidence that introduced Cx. quinquefasciatus and subsequent chemical control efforts have displaced more pesticide-susceptible, endemic species such as Culex cinereus and Culex nebulosus from peridomestic larval habitat (Subra, 1981). Introduced Cx. quinquefasciatus and the avian pathogens they transmit may have a major impact on the avifauna of isolated islands and atolls.  Perhaps the best-known example is the Hawaiian Islands, where introduced Cx. quinquefasciatus, Plasmodium relictum (avian malaria) and Avipoxvirus are considered key factors in the extinction and decline of endemic Hawaiian avifauna (Riper et al., 1986; Riper et al., 2002; LaPointe et al., 2012). Cx. quinquefasciatus is probably involved in the transmission of avian malaria to endemic birds in New Zealand. The impact on native New Zealand birds is unclear, but recently a translocated group of endangered yellowheads or mohua Mohouaochrocephala succumbed to avian malaria (Alley et al., 2008).  The avifauna of the Galapagos Archipelago may be threatened by Cx. quinquefasciatus-vectored pathogens.  Avian malaria has recently been reported from endangered Galapagos penguins Spheniscus mendiculus (Levin et al., 2009). As yet, there have been no observed impacts on the population but captive penguins often succumb to malarial infections. Avipoxvirus-like lesions have also been reported on a number of Galapagos endemics including mockingbirds Nesomimus parvulus parvulus and finches in the genera Geospiza and Camarhynchus (Parker et al., 2011). Mortality in immature Galapagos mockingbirds has been attributed to Avipoxvirus infection (Vargas, 1987).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Aphelocoma insularis (Island Scrub-Jay)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)CaliforniaPest and disease transmissionBoyce et al., 2011
Mohoua ochrocephala (Yellowhead)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)New ZealandPest and disease transmissionAlley et al., 2008
Spheniscus mendiculus (Galapagos Penguin)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)Galapagos IslandsPest and disease transmissionLevin et al., 2009
Vestiaria coccinea (Iiwi)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)HawaiiPest and disease transmissionAtkinson et al., 1995
Loxioides bailleui (palila)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006
Oreomystis bairdi (akikiki)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006
Oreomystis mana (Hawaii creeper)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006
Palmeria dolei (crested honeycreeper)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a
Paroreomyza flammea (Molokai creeper)EX (IUCN red list: Extinct) EX (IUCN red list: Extinct); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006
Paroreomyza maculata (Oahu creeper)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006
Pseudonestor xanthophrys (Maui parrotbill)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b
Psittirostra psittacea (Ou)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009

Social Impact

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Culex quinquefasciatus is the main vector of the human filarial nematode, Wuchereria bancrofti, throughout the tropical/subtropical world (Subra, 1981). Lymphatic filariasis affects some 120 million people and causes almost $1.3 billion a year in lost productivity (Conteh et al., 2010). An additional 1.3 billion people are at risk and because lymphatic filariasis is a disfiguring and debilitating disease, its social impact on some of the poorest people of the world is great (Perera et al., 2007). In the southern United States, Cx. quinquefasciatus is an important vector of St. Louis virus (Mitchell et al., 1980) and West Nile virus (WNV) (Richards et al., 2010), and while the number of people afflicted is less than for lymphatic filariasis, the economic costs of disease surveillance, vector control and medical expenses to local governments are significant. Cx. quinquefasciatus can also transmit pathogens to livestock and companion animals resulting in loss of productivity and death.  These diseases include avian pox, avian malaria, Rift Valley fever, West Nile encephalitis and canine dirofilariasis (dog heartworm) (Subra 1981; Lee et al. 1989).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Induces hypersensitivity
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Pathogenic
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Apart from being used as a model organism for the laboratory study of pesticide resistance, Cx. quinquefasciatus has no economic or social value.

Uses List

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General

  • Laboratory use
  • Research model

Genetic importance

  • Test organisms (for pests and diseases)

Detection and Inspection

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Surveillance for Cx. quinquefasciatus generally consists of dip surveys of all suspect larval habitats and selective trapping of adults using mechanized gravid traps baited with infusions of grass, manure or other organic matter (Reiter, 1983).  Larval mosquitoes are often identified using morphological keys focused on chaetotaxy - the structure and arrangement of setae - of the siphon and terminal segments of the abdomen (Belkin, 1962; for more current terminology see Harbach and Knight (1980, 1981)).  Morphological distinction of Cx. quinquefasciatus from related species is difficult at best but a number of rapid molecular diagnostic assays have been developed (Crabtree et al., 1995; Aspen and Savage, 2003; Smith and Fonseca, 2004).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Culex quinquefasciatus adults are morphologically similar to Cx. restuans and Cx. salinarius (Crabtree et al. 1995). With the exception of differences in the shape of the male genitalia, Cx. quinquefasciatus is morphologically indistinguishable from other members of the Culex pipiens species complex which includes Cx. pipiens pipiens, Cx. pipiens f. molestus, Cx. pipiens pallens, Cx. australicus, and Cx. globocoxitus (Farajollahi et al., 2011).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

Public health quarantine measures regarding human disease vectors aboard aircraft have been in place since the 1930s (Hughes, 1949).  Disinsection by pyrethroid insecticides as an aerosol spray during flight and/or as residual surface treatment is recommended on all aircraft departing from countries with known disease vectors (Gratz et al., 2000).  Pre-embarkment treatments combining a rapid knockdown component (d-phenothrin) and a residual component (permethrin) have been developed (WHO, 1995). In response to health concerns by airline cabin staff, aircraft disinsection is no longer a requirement of the United States (Sutton, 2007). Currently 24 countries (or island states) require disinsection by pyrethroid application for all or selected incoming flights (American Samoa, Australia, Barbados, China, Cook Islands, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador (Galapagos), Fiji, France, Grenada, India, Jamaica, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mauritius, New Zealand, Panama, Seychelles, South Africa, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom and Uruguay (Department of Transportation, 2012). Alternative, non-pesticide, methods of disinsection such as mechanical air curtains are being evaluated (Carlson et al., 2006).                  

Public awareness

Public education is always a key component of successful mosquito control.  Identification and removal or treatment of household- and agriculture-associated larval mosquito habitats can greatly reduce Cx. quinquefasciatus abundance.  This can be particularly significant when highly productive septic habitats are involved.

Eradication

Culex quinquefasciatus has been experimentally eradicated from a village in Burma using cytoplasmic incompatibility (Laven, 1967) and in the Florida Keys (USA) using sterile males (Patterson et al., 1970). Following these early successes, larger scale attempts made in India with sterile males, cytoplasmic incompatibility and genetic translocations failed due to immigration of wild males into the control area (Asman et al., 1981).

Control

The simplest approach to control of Cx. quinquefasciatus is source reduction of larval mosquito habitat.  Most domestic habitats can be eliminated or modified to prevent access by mosquitoes while peridomestic habitats associated with agricultural practices may be modified or treated to reduce productivity.

Crude petroleum oils were often used for larval mosquito control before the advent of the organochlorine insecticide, DDT.  More refined oils are used today although they are generally expensive.  For a decade or so following World War II, organochlorines were commonly used and quite effective against larval Cx. quinquefasciatus.  Following the evolution of resistance to organochlorines, organophospates such as diazinon, fenthion, malathion, temephos and chlorphyrifos were used to control both larvae and adults (Subra, 1981).  Today, many populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus have evolved resistance to the most commonly used organophosphate, carbamate and pyrethroid insecticides (Jones et al., 2012). Expandable polystyrene beads have been used in pit latrines and open septic systems to create a physical barrier to egg laying adults (Curtis et al. 2002).

Fish, especially the guppy Poecilia reticulata, have been used to successfully control Cx. quinquefasciatus in a number larval habitats throughout Africa, India and Southeast Asia (Subra, 1981; Chandra et al., 2008). The cyclopoid copepod, Macrocyclops albidus, has also been used to control Cx. quinquefasciatus larvae in open drainage ditches; however, copepods alone cannot eliminate this mosquito (Marten et al., 2000). Various microsporidia, fungi and nematodes have also been tested for control of larval Cx. quinquefasciatus with limited success in operational field applications (Subra, 1981; Guzman & Axtell, 1986).  Perhaps the most successful agents for control of Cx. quinquefasciatus have been the biopesticides or mosquitocidal toxins associated with the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis serovar. israelensis (Bti) and Lysinibacillus sphaericus (Bacillus sphaericus).  The efficacy of Bti against Cx. quinquefasciatus is somewhat limited by higher concentrations of organic matter in the treated larval habitat.  Unfortunately, resistance to both of these toxins has evolved rapidly in some field populations (Wirth et al., 2000). Today, most mosquito control programs have adopted an integrated pest management approach combining source reduction and biological control with an alternating use of biopesticides and/or conventional insecticides (Mulla, 2003).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Culex quinquefasciatus is among the most studied organisms in the world. A deeper understanding of its genetics and the role of its endosymbionts may provide valuable insights into population control and vector competence.

References

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Ahumada JA, Lapointe D, Samuel MD, 2004. Modeling the population dynamics of Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae), along an elevational gradient in Hawaii. Journal of Medical Entomology, 41(6):1157-1170.

Allen ML, Christensen BM, 2004. Flight muscle-specific expression of act88F: GFP in transgenic Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitology International, 53(4):307-314.

Allen ML, O'Brochta DA, Atkinson PW, Levesque CS, 2001. Stable, germ-line transformation of Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology, 38(5):701-710.

Alley MR, Fairley RA, Martin DG, Howe L, Atkinson T, 2008. An outbreak of avian malaria in captive yellowheads/mohua (Mohoua ochrocephala). New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 56(5):247-251. http://www.vetjournal.org.nz

Alves J, Gomes B, Rodrigues R, Silva J, Arez AP, Pinto J, Sousa CA, 2010. Mosquito fauna on the Cape Verde Islands (West Africa): an update on species distribution and a new finding. Journal of Vector Ecology, 35(2):307-312. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1948-7134.2010.00087.x/full

Arensburger P, Megy K, Waterhouse RM, Abrudan J, Amedeo P, Antelo B, Bartholomay L, Bidwell S, Caler E, Camara F, Campbell CL, Campbell KS, Casola C, Castro MT, Chandramouliswaran I, Chapman SB, Christley S, Costas J, Eisenstadt E, Feschotte C, Fraser-Liggett C, Guigo R, Haas B, Hammond M, Hansson BS, Hemingway J (et al. ), 2010. Sequencing of Culex quinquefasciatus establishes a platform for mosquito comparative genomics. Science (Washington), 330(6000):86-88. http://www.sciencemag.org

Arif-ul-Hasan, Suguri S, Ahmed SMU, Fujimoto C, Harada M, Rahman SM, Rashid-uz-Zaman, Kakehi Y, 2009. Molecular phylogeography of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes in central Bangladesh. Acta Tropica, 112(2):106-114. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0001706X

Asman SM, McDonald PT, Prout T, 1981. Field studies of genetic control systems for mosquitoes. Annual Review of Entomology, 26:289-318.

Aspen S, Savage HM, 2003. Polymerase chain reaction assay identifies North American members of the Culex pipiens complex based on nucleotide sequence differences in the acetylcholinesterase gene Ace.2. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 19(4):323-328.

Atkinson CT, Woods KL, Dusek RJ, Sileo LS, Iko WM, 1995. Wildlife disease and conservation in Hawaii: pathogenicity of avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) in experimentally infected Iiwi (Vestiaria coccinea). Parasitology [Ecology of wildlife host-parasite interactions.], 111(SUPPL):S59-S69.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
VectorBasehttp://www.vectorbase.org/
VectorMaphttp://www.vectormap.org/
Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU)http://wrbu.si.edu/

Organizations

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Switzerland: World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, http://www.who.int/en/

USA: Centers of Disease Control - Vector Borne (CDC-DVBD), 3150 Rampart Road, Ft. Collins, CO 80521, http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dvbd/

Hawaii: US Geological Survey (USGS), P.O. Box 44 Blg 344 Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, http://www.usgs.gov/ecosystems/pierc/research/whzd.html

Contributors

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30/11/12: Original text by:

Dennis A. LaPointe, US Geological Survey, P.O. Box 44, Hawaii National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA.

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