Photo Courtesy of Jason Williams

Photo Courtesy of Jason Williams

A very large brilliantly ornamented mosquito

Proboscis: long, black, the anterior or apical half strongly curved downward; a few metallic-blue scales intermixed.

Palpi: about two-thirds as long as proboscis, metallic dark blue to violet, with golden-yellow scales laterally on second and third segments.

Head: Occiput with appressed dark metallic-blue and coppery scales dorsally; The eye margins and lateral parts of the occiput with flat, silvery to golden-yellow scales. Tori black, with dense gray pubescence on inner and dorsal surfaces.

Thorax : Anterior pronotal lobe with broad flat scales, those on dorsal part brilliant metallic blue. Integument of scutum dark brown; a median stripe on anterior two-thirds of scutum and the sides primarily gold-scaled with blue reflection; remainder of scutum clothed with fine dark purplish-brown scales. Pleura shingled with flat golden-yellow scales. Scutellum with closely appressed purplish-brown scales, those on posterior and lateral margins gold, with bluish reflection.

Abdomen : Abdomen clothed dorsally with brown to metallic blue-green scales, with golden-yellow scales laterally.

Legs : Femora dark-brown, with purple reflection, golden yellow basally and on posterior surface; white knee spots present. Tibiae primarily covered with dark brown and purple scales. Front and middle tarsi with apex of segment 1, all of 2 and 3, and all but apex of 4 white; hind tarsus with apex of segment 3, all of 4, and all but tip of 5 white.

Wing : Length about 6.0 mm. Scales rather broad and sparse, dark purple.

Bionomics : The adults are among the largest and most colorful mosquitoes of the region. The larvae are found in rot cavities of trees and occasionally in artificial containers and rockholes. The larvae are predacious, feeding on other mosquito larvae and small aquatic animals in their habitats. They do not attack anything that is not moving. The mandibles alone are used to seize and hold prey. The adult female deposits individual eggs on the surface of water while doing an aerial dance above the water. The eggs are white and oval shape. When hatching, the egg is split lengthwise into two halves which often remain attached to one another by a narrow ribbon of shell. The larval period is long, usually several weeks to six months. The pupal stage is usually 4 to 7 days but may be as long as 23 days. In some areas they overwinter as larvae and some other areas they may overwinter as an adult. Both males and females fly during day and feed on the nectar of flowers and other plant juices. They do not take blood meals! Distribution is over Eastern United States, north to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and west to Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Special note : The Toxorhynchites rutilus septentrionalis and Toxorhynchites rutilus rutilus are both sub-species of the genus Toxorhynchities. The larvae and adult of both sub-species are indistinguishable from each other. The Toxorhynchities rutilus rutilus is located in a few counties in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

*** Some information is from Mosquitoes of North America by Stanley J. Carpenter and Walter J. LaCasse and from Identification and Geographical Distribution of the Mosquitoes of North America, North of Mexico by Richard F. Darsie, Jr. and Ronald A. Ward.