The products of the maternal-effect genes, nanos (nos) and oskar (osk), are important for the development of germ cells in insects. Furthermore, these genes have been proposed as candidates for donating functional DNA regulatory sequences for use in gene drive systems to control transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens. The nos and osk genes of the cosmopolitan vector mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, encode proteins with domains common to orthologues found in other mosquitoes. Expression analyses support the conclusion that the role of these genes is conserved generally among members of the nematocera. Hybridization in situ analyses reveal differences in mRNA distribution in early embryos in comparison with the cyclorraphan, Drosophila melanogaster, highlighting a possible feature in the divergence of the clades each insect represents.