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Keywords:

  • Mississippi;
  • mosquitoes;
  • distribution;
  • taxomony;
  • surveys

ABSTRACT:

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT:
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. REFERENCES CITED

There has been no previous systematic statewide study of mosquitoes in Mississippi. This survey, resulting in the collection of over 400,000 specimens, was conducted by the authors from 2003 to 2007 throughout much of the state using CO2-baited CDC light traps and larval dipping. In addition, a health department contract mosquito surveillance technician collected several thousand specimens from the state from 2001 to 2003. Lastly, specimens housed at the Mississippi State University Entomological Museum, obtained from previous surveys, were included as vouchers for species occurring in the state. The collection records and literature show 60 species as occurring or having occurred in Mississippi. Voucher specimens representing 57 of the 60 species discussed are deposited in the Mississippi Entomological Museum or in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (USNM), Washington, D.C.


INTRODUCTION

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT:
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. REFERENCES CITED

Although various authors have reported mosquito collection records as a result of surveys of military installations in the state and/or public health malaria inspections and localized surveys, there has been no previous systematic statewide study of mosquitoes in Mississippi. The first published mosquito records from Mississippi were Aedes grossbecki, Ae. thibaulti, Ae. fulvus-pallens (as bimaculatus), Ae. vexans, Culex erraticus, and Culistea inornata (Dyar 1922). Five years later there was an anopheline survey (malaria-related) in which the authors reported An. crucians, An. punctipennis An. pseudopunctipennis, and An. quadrimaculatus (Carley and Balfour 1929). Another malaria study in the Mississippi Delta reported An. quadrimaculatus, An. punctipennis, and An. crucians (Perez 1930). A State Board of Health publication discussed Anopheles population densities in Mississippi but reported no specific species names (Bradley et al. 1940). During the 1940s several military-related studies in Mississippi provided further records of mosquitoes (King and Bradley 1941, King et al. 1943, Middlekauff and Carpenter 1944, Carpenter et al. 1945, Miles and Rings 1946, Michener 1947, Rings and Richmond 1953). The most complete work revealed 47 species from Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg in south Mississippi (Michener 1947). In addition, a study on chemical control of rice field mosquitoes in 1952–1953 in Bolivar County mentioned Ps. columbiae (as confinnis) (Mathis et al. 1954). These earlier works were later summarized (King et al. 1960), stating that there was a total of 53 species occurring in Mississippi.

In 1969 the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted mosquito surveillance in Hancock County as part of a pest monitoring program and reported ten relatively common species (USDA 1969). Also, in the late 1960s, a seasonality study of mosquitoes in Hancock County was conducted which recorded a total of 33 species (Harden and Poolson 1969). Almost all mosquito records from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s resulted from collections made by U.S. Air Force personnel at installations in Harrison and Lowndes Counties (USAF 1971, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980a, 1989b, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988), although no voucher specimens are known for these surveys. Air Force records from 1989 show the first known presence of the introduced species Ae. albopictus in Mississippi (USAF 1989). Results of a Master's thesis4 demonstrated species composition and seasonality of mosquitoes in Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties from March 1972 – November 1973 (Fulton et al. 1974). Fortunately, representatives from all of his collections were verified by Richard F. Darsie Jr., with specimens deposited in the Mississippi Entomological Museum (MEM), Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS. Some of the most unusual findings in that study included Anopheles walkeri, Orthopodomyia alba, Culex peccator, and Cx. pilosus. Research on the pitcher-plant mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii, led to collections of this species from George County (Bradshaw and Lounibos 1977, Bradshaw 1983). In 1982, a small mosquito survey was conducted at Mays Lake in Jackson, MS, to determine relative abundance and species composition there and the authors recorded 13 species in five genera from March through September (Nelson et al. 1985). In the late 1990s, arbovirus research in northeast Mississippi resulted in a report of 23 mosquito species from Tishomingo County (Cupp et al. 2004).

Unusual mosquito records

Several unusual records of mosquitoes have been reported for Mississippi. King included a record of two Ae. stimulans from Electric Mills, MS, in Kemper County (King et al. 1960). The occurrence of this species several hundred miles south of its recorded range is unexpected; however, voucher specimens are available and the record has been confirmed (Goddard and Harrison 2005). A collection record of Ae. dorsalis, which occurs primarily in the western U.S., was reported from Como, MS (Miles and Rings 1946). Although the collection was identified by Alan Stone, a culicid specialist, no voucher specimen is available to confirm this record (Goddard and Harrison 2005). Psorophora pygmea was reported from Horn Island, MS (Harden et al. 1967), but no expert made the identification and no voucher specimen has been seen to confirm this record. Since this species is restricted in the USA to the Florida Keys, the record must be deleted (Goddard and Harrison 2005). There is one record of Ae. nigromaculis from Harrison County, MS (USAF 1990). The distribution of Ae. nigromaculis borders the western edge of Mississippi (Darsie and Ward 2005), so finding this species in Mississippi is possible. Nonetheless, we have no voucher specimen and no positive verification of this species in Mississippi.

Recent mosquito work in Mississippi

In 2000, the Mississippi Department of Health received a West Nile surveillance grant from the Centers for Disease Control that provided funding for more intensive mosquito collecting and West Nile testing in selected areas around the state. As a result, several new state records for mosquitoes have been found. One was Mansonia titillans, recorded from Madison, Copiah, and Rankin counties, and another was Aedes trivittatus from Marshall County (Goddard and Harrison 2005). The most recent new record for Mississippi is Culex coronator, typically occurring in Central and South America, but collected in November of 2004 from Copiah County (Varnado et al. 2005). Previously, this species was only collected in the U.S. from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. In addition, intensive searches/collections have been made during the last five years to locate Aedes atropalpus (Coquillett) and Aedes j. japonicus (Theobald) in Mississippi. To date, these two species have not been found in Mississippi and many gaps remain in our knowledge of Mississippi mosquitoes. This paper presents the most up-to-date list of 60 verified mosquito species occurring throughout the 82 counties of Mississippi and offers key information about their distribution, seasonality, and biology.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT:
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. REFERENCES CITED

Material examined

Many of the distribution records used to generate this list of species are the result of extensive collecting (over 400,000 specimens) conducted by the authors from 2003 to 2007 throughout much of the state using CO2-baited CDC light traps and larval dipping. A health department contract mosquito surveillance technician (M'Lee Hoyt Loe) also collected several thousand specimens from around the state from 2001 to 2003. In addition, specimens housed in the MEM obtained from previous surveys were included as vouchers for species occurring in the state. The collection records and literature show 60 species as occurring or having occurred in Mississippi. Voucher specimens representing 57 of the 60 species discussed are deposited in the Mississippi Entomological Museum, Mississippi State University, or in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (USNM), Washington, D.C. A map of Mississippi (Figure 1) is provided with counties labeled to orient readers as to species distribution. Collection data for one voucher specimen for each species is provided in the annotated list; a more complete listing of Mississippi mosquito collection records may be found at the following link: http://mississippientomologicalmuseum.org.msstate.edu/Researchtaxapages/Mosquitoes/Introduction.html.

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Figure 1. Map of Mississippi with counties labeled.

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Mosquito taxonomy and reclassification issues

For mosquito identification and surveillance, we used the illustrations and keys in standard texts (Carpenter and LaCasse 1955, Slaff and Apperson 1989, Darsie and Morris 2000, Darsie and Ward 2005). We have followed published standard abbreviations for genera (Reinert 2001). As for the species complex, Anopheles quadrimaculatus s.l., we have accepted the classification that includes five species in this complex consisting of An. diluvialis, An. inundatus, An. maverlius, An. quadrimaculatus, and An. smaragdinus (Reinert et al. 1997). Three of these species (An. maverlius, An. quadrimaculatus, and An. smaragdinus) have been recorded from Mississippi (Reinert et al. 1997).

LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT:
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. REFERENCES CITED

Anopheles atropos Dyar and Knab. This species is found in salt water of coastal marshes from New Jersey southward to Texas. Three confirmed records of An. atropos are known from Harrison and Jackson Counties, all of which were collected in December. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Harrison County, Cat Island, 31 Dec 1931, D.F. Griffith, det. John F. Reinert, deposited in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Anopheles barberi Coquillett. This species is relatively rare in Mississippi. Larvae occupy tree-holes or artificial containers and adults feed on large mammals, including humans. Twenty specimens have been collected from March through June in four counties – Benton, Clay, Greene, and Tishomingo. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Greene County, Leaf, 12 Mar 2004, J. Goddard, det. Bruce A. Harrison (BAH), deposited in the Mississippi Entomological Museum (MEM), Mississippi State University.

Anopheles crucians (Complex). Previously, the Anopheles crucians complex was thought to include three closely-related species (crucians Weidemann, bradleyi King, georgianus King) that are very similar in the adult stage but differing in the larval and pupal stages. However, recent work has revealed as many as six species based on ITS2 PCR studies (Wilkerson et al. 2004). Members of the An. crucians complex are found in the margins of lakes, ponds, pools, and swamps where vegetation provides protection for the larvae. This species complex feeds on a variety of mammals and birds, including humans. We have 88,159 collection records of An. crucians complex from all months of the year and from 37 Mississippi counties, although it likely occurs statewide. The peak of activity is late spring through early summer. Voucher specimens (crucians complex): adult pinned, Marshall County, Wall Doxey State Park, 31 July 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University. In regards to other members of the complex, we have one adult specimen which, based on geographic location (a coastal county) and morphological features, can be considered true An. bradleyi King (adult pinned, Jackson County, Escatawpa, 13 Apr 1991, R.L. Brown, det. BAH, deposited in the Mississippi Entomological Museum, Mississippi State University). In addition, 131 records of larval An. georgianus King were collected and identified by Michener during 1942–44 from Camp Shelby, Forrest County in late spring and early summer, but without voucher specimens (Michener 1947).

Anopheles pseudopunctipennis Theobald. This mosquito species is relatively rare in Mississippi, but has been previously reported by reputable authorities (King and Bradley 1941). Anopheles pseudopunctipennis prefer clear, sunlit pools containing algae or in vegetated margins of slow-moving streams; hosts include humans and other large mammals. We have 204 records of An. pseudopunctipennis in Mississippi from 6 counties – Harrison, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lee, Lowndes, and Pearl River – collected from May through October. However, 194/204 (95%) of all specimens were collected in May and June. Voucher specimen: None available.

Anopheles punctipennis (Say). This species is the most widely distributed anopheline in North America, found in margins of flowing streams, marshes, ditches, large pools, (and occasionally in containers) and feeding on humans and other mammals. We have 883 records of An. punctipennis collected in all months of the year from 38 Mississippi counties, although it likely occurs statewide. Peak activity is late spring through early summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 26 May 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Anopheles quadrimaculatus (Complex). Members of the Anopheles quadrimaculatus complex are extremely common in Mississippi in lakes, ponds, swamps, rice fields, and other permanent or semi-permanent water sources. They feed on humans and wild and domestic animals; cattle and deer are common hosts. As mentioned in the methods section, this species actually consists of five species —An. diluvialis Reinert, An. inundates Reinert, An. maverlius Reinert, An. quadrimaculatus Say, and An. smaragdinus Reinert. Three of these species (An. maverlius, An. quadrimaculatus, and An. smaragdinus) have been recorded from Mississippi (Reinert et al. 1997). We have 12,657 records of this species complex collected in all months of the year from 41 Mississippi counties, although they likely occur statewide. Peak activity is mid- to late summer. According to Seawright (Seawright et al. 1992), specific county records for the three species occurring in Mississippi include: Bolivar, Itawamba, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, and Tishomingo for An. quadrimaculatus; Itawamba, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, and Tishomingo for An. smaragdinus; and Itawamba, Noxubeee, and Tishomingo for An. maverlius.Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Marshall County, Wall Doxey State Park, 31 Jul 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Anopheles walkeri Theobald. This relatively rare species, found in fresh-water marshes, has only been collected from two Mississippi counties – Lowndes and Tishomingo – both in the northeastern portion of the state. This species feeds on humans and other mammals. Eighty-six specimens have been collected from May through July. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Lowndes Co., 2 May 1973, H. Fulton, det. Richard F. Darsie Jr. (RFD), deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes aegypti (L). Yellow Fever mosquito. The yellow fever mosquito larvae occupy artificial containers and adults feed on humans and other mammals. We have ten confirmed records from Mississippi from five counties (Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Lowndes, Oktibbeha), although at one time the species occurred statewide. Our records show specimens collected from May to September. Voucher specimen: Larva on slide, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, 18 May 1972, H. Fulton, det. RFD, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes albopictus (Skuse). Asian tiger mosquito. The Asian tiger mosquito is probably the most important biting mosquito in Mississippi because it aggressively attacks humans, other mammals, and birds. This species occurs in artificial containers, especially old tires. We examined 10,164 specimens from all 82 Mississippi counties. Specimens were collected from April through October with a peak in July. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Union County, New Albany, 13 May 1999, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes atlanticus Dyar and Knab. Females of Ae. atlanticus and Ae. tormentor are not easily separated by morphological characters, but males and larvae are distinct. We have confirmed larval specimens of both Ae. atlanticus and Ae. tormentor and thus separate entries in the annotated list. Aedes atlanticus and Ae. tormentor larvae are found in shaded woodland pools containing grass and other vegetation, and feed on humans and other mammals. We have records of 9,304 specimens collected from 20 Mississippi counties; but it likely occurs statewide. Voucher specimens: Ae. atlanticus, larva on slide, Clay County, 22 Apr 1972, H. Fulton, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University. Ae. Atlanticus/tormentor, adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 18 Oct 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes canadensis (Theobald). Larvae develop in spring woodland pools, drainage ditches, and receding floodwaters where they are sometimes exceedingly abundant during early spring. Aedes canadensis feeds primarily on mammals but will feed on birds and cold-blooded vertebrates (especially turtles). The second author has photographed Ae. canadensis feeding on the neck of a turtle in central Mississippi. We have records of 3,154 specimens from 20 counties, though the species likely occurs statewide. Seasonally, collections have been made from February through November with a peak in mid-spring. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Scott County, Nr. Morton, 8 April 1999, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes cinereus Meigen. Larvae are found in temporary woodland pools and floodwaters and feed on humans and other mammals. Aedes cinereus is relatively rare in Mississippi, with only nine specimens collected from three counties (Oktibbeha, Copiah, and Stone Counties) from March to September. Voucher specimen: larva on slide, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, 3 May 1973, H. Fulton, det. RFD, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes dorsalis (Meigen). This species primarily occurs in the western and mid-western U.S., where larvae occur in temporary brackish and freshwater pools and irrigation waters. Adults feed on humans and other large mammals, but will feed on birds if no mammals are present. There is one record (no specimen available) of Ae. dorsalis, collected in July from Como, MS (Panola County), identified by Alan Stone at the U.S. National Museum, and therefore can be accepted as valid (Miles and Rings 1946). Voucher specimen. None available.

Aedes dupreei (Coquillett). This species may be underreported due to its similarity to Ae. atlanticus-tormentor. It is found in grassy pools and feeds on a wide variety of mammals. We have 345 specimens of Ae. dupreei from 17 Mississippi counties; although it may occur statewide. Collections have been made from April through November, with a peak in mid-summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 18 Oct 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes fulvus pallens Ross. This striking yellow-colored mosquito occupies temporary pools in dense woods where it feeds on a variety of mammals, including humans. We have 1,665 collection records from 24 Mississippi counties, although it likely occurs statewide. Collections have been made from May through November with a peak during late-spring to mid-summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Lee County, Tupelo, 27 Jun 2001, M. Loe, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes grossbecki Dyar and Knab. This species is found in leaf-lined woodland pools, often associated with Ae. canadensis, and feeds on a wide variety of mammals, including humans. We only have one specimen collected from Sharkey County, MS, collected during April. However, it was reported previously by Dyar from Adams County (Natchez) and Scott County (location unknown), both also in April (Dyar 1922). Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Sharkey County, Delta National Forest, 28 Apr 1990, J. Mallet, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes hendersoni Cockerell. This species, once thought to be a subspecies of Ae. triseriatus, is found primarily in upper canopy tree holes and feeds on small mammals such as squirrels and chipmunks. We have 16 collection records of Ae. hendersoni from five Mississippi counties, and specimens have been collected from March through October with a peak in early summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Smith County, Nr. Raleigh, 20 Sep 2003, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes infirmatus Dyar and Knab. This species prefers temporary woodland and grassy pools and feeds primarily on mammals; they readily bite people. We have 212 collection records of Ae. infirmatus from 14 Mississippi counties, mostly from the central and southern counties. Collections have been made from May through October, with a peak in mid-June. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Alcorn County, Corinth, 5 Jul 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes mitchellae (Dyar). This species which is very similar to Aedes sollicitans, is found in temporary freshwater pools and feeds on humans and other mammals. We have 98 collection records from five southern counties, caught from February through December, with a peak in mid-June. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Jackson County, Ocean Springs, 12 Apr 1991, R.L. Brown, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes sollicitans (Walker). Tan salt marsh mosquito. This mosquito is found primarily in salt marshes along the coast, but it may occasionally be found inland in brackish marshes and salt pools associated with oil drilling. Aedes sollicitans has the potential for huge emergences, especially after heavy rains or tropical storms, and may fly 20–30 miles. They feed primarily on mammals, including humans, but may also feed on birds. We have 1,160 collection records of the tan salt marsh mosquito from four Mississippi counties along the coast and collections have been made year-round in Mississippi with a peak in late spring. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Harrison County, Biloxi, 4 Sep 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes sticticus (Meigen). This early-season mosquito occupies temporary woodland pools and floodplains and may be an extremely bothersome pest in certain areas during the spring where it feeds on humans and other mammals. We have 2,226 collection records of Ae. sticticus from 17 Mississippi counties; it likely occurs statewide. Collections have been made from February through July, peaking in mid-spring. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Hinds County, Nr. Terry, 3 Apr 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes stimulans (Walker). This mosquito, ordinarily a northern (U.S. and Canada) forest and floodwater mosquito, has been reported only once in Mississippi. A male and a female were reared from larvae collected from water in a tree stump near Electric Mills, Mississippi, in 1920 by J.A. LePrince. In 1922, Dyar named these specimens as a subspecies, Ae. stimulans mississippii (Dyar 1922), but later, this subspecies was synonymized with Ae. stimulans (Dyar 1928). Based on examination by the third author (BAH) of the lectotype for Dyar's subspecies in the USNM, these have been confirmed as Mississippi records (Goddard and Harrison 2005). Voucher specimen: One male and an associated slide preparation of the genitalia, Kemper County, Electric Mills, 1920, J.A. LePrince, confirmed by BAH, deposited in the USNM.

Aedes taeniorhynchus (Wiedemann). Black salt marsh mosquito. Like Ae. sollicitans, larvae of the black salt marsh mosquito are found in brackish pools associated with high tides and may emerge in huge swarms after heavy rains. Adults primarily feed on humans and other mammals. We have examined 945 specimens from five counties near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and collections have been made from April through December with a peak in late summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Harrison, Biloxi, 4 Sep 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes thibaulti Dyar and Knab. This species occupies hollow cypress, green ash, and black gum trunks in freshwater swamps and also in dark stump holes, especially from maple trees. Adults feed on a variety of mammals, including humans. We have records of 50 Ae. thibaulti specimens from three central Mississippi counties (Lauderdale, Copiah, and Winston Counties), but it has been collected in southern areas near Camp Shelby in Forrest County (Michener 1947). Seasonally, we have records from April through June. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 2 May 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes tormentor Dyar and Knab. See Ae. atlanticus for comments about this species and the difficulty separating the adults. We have two confirmed larval specimens of Ae. tormentor, one from Clay County (June) and one from Oktibbeha County (April). Voucher specimen: larva on slide, Clay County, 29 Jun 1972, H. Fulton, det. RFD, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes triseriatus (Say). Tree-hole mosquito. The tree-hole mosquito is found in tree holes and artificial containers, particularly discarded tires in shaded areas, and feeds primarily on small mammals, although they will also feed on birds. We have collection records from 39 Mississippi counties, though it likely occurs statewide. Specimens have been collected from February through December with a peak in early summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Smith County, Nr. White Oak, 8 Apr 1999, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes trivittatus (Coquillett). This primarily northern species is found in floodwaters and temporary woodland and grassy pools and feeds on a wide variety of mammals, including humans. We have 48 collection records from five Mississippi counties and seasonally, our records show collections in April/May and again in September. We originally reported Ae. trivittatus as a new state record in 2005 (Goddard and Harrison 2005), although later investigation revealed an earlier unpublished record, albeit with no voucher specimen5. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Marshall County, Wall Doxey State Park, 22 May 2002, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Aedes vexans (Meigen). Floodwater mosquito. The floodwater mosquito is a common and widespread mosquito, attacking a wide range of mammals and other vertebrates. This species is the target for most city or county mosquito control efforts. Enormous broods of this species are produced when flood plains of rivers and streams are inundated during spring rains. We examined 30,420 specimens of Ae. vexans from 49 Mississippi counties, but the species probably occurs statewide. Specimens have been collected in all months of the year and numbers are highest from mid-spring to mid-fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Prentiss County, Booneville, 7 Jul 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Coquillettidia perturbans (Walker). Salt and pepper mosquito. The salt and pepper mosquito is so-named because of the presence of broad black and yellow-white scales on its body and wings. The species is found in permanent water containing emergent vegetation, in particular, cattails, leading some researchers to call it the “cattail” mosquito. Coquillettidia perturbans differs biologically from most mosquitoes in that larvae obtain air directly from underwater plant roots. They primarily feed on mammals and birds, and in some areas of Mississippi can be a major biting nuisance. We have examined 72,431 specimens from 31 Mississippi counties, although it likely occurs statewide. Collection records show activity from April through November with a peak in late spring. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 2 May 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex coronator Dyar and Knab. This mosquito occupies temporary and semi-permanent freshwater pools such as roadside ditches and deep ruts; we have also collected them in seeps and springs in both sunlight and shade (Goddard et al. 2006). They feed primarily on birds, although there are records of them feeding on mammals. We have examined 3,124 specimens from ten counties, mostly in central and southern Mississippi, and specimens have usually been collected in late summer (our records show August through January). We have one record of a blood-fed female collected on January 3, indicating that they may feed in mid-winter in Mississippi. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 22 Sep 2004, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM and USNM.

Culex erraticus (Dyar and Knab). This species is one of the most commonly occurring mosquitoes in Mississippi, found in woodland pools and feeding on birds and mammals. We have collection records of 68,671 specimens from 61 Mississippi counties in all 12 months of the year; the peak of activity is mid-summer. Voucher specimen: larva on slide, Clay Co., Nr. West Point, 13 Jun 1972, H. Fulton, det. RFD, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex nigripalpus Theobald. This mosquito is most common in the coastal plain of Mississippi, where it can be found sometimes in extremely high numbers. It primarily feeds on humans and other large mammals. We have collection records of 44,333 Cx. nigripalpus from 20 Mississippi counties, mostly in the southern half of the state. Collections have occurred from June through January with a peak in early fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Smith County, Nr. White Oak, 26 Oct 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex peccator Dyar and Knab. This mosquito is rare in Mississippi. Larvae occupy freshwater swampy areas, where it feeds primarily on amphibians and reptiles. We only have 36 collection records of Cx. peccator from four counties – Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Hancock, and Jackson – from July to October. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Oktibbeha County, Noxubee Refuge, 6 Aug 1990, J. Mallet, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex pilosus (Dyar and Knab). This rare mosquito is found in temporary freshwater pools and feeds on small mammals. We have only one specimen of Cx. pilosus from Clay County collected during October. Voucher specimen: larva on slide, Clay County, 7 Oct 1972, H. Fulton, det. RFD, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex quinquefasciatus Say. Southern house mosquito. The southern house mosquito occupies stagnant water high in organic content such as septic ditches, storm drains, and even artificial containers if they have a sufficient amount of organic content (such as leaves, bark, mulch, etc.). Unlike many other mosquito species, larval “quinqs” can survive in water with low biological oxygen demand, which is often devoid of natural predators. Adults feed on a wide variety of birds and mammals, including humans, making them ideal vectors for certain arboviral diseases. Their feeding preference between birds and mammals is dynamic and may shift seasonally. We have 4,302 collection records from 38 Mississippi counties, although the species likely occurs statewide. Collection records show activity from February through November, with a peak in late summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Hinds County, Jackson, 8 Aug 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex restuans Theobald. White-dotted mosquito. This species is found in drainage ditches and various semi-permanent and permanent pools. They can tolerate polluted water but not to the same extent as Cx. quinquefasciatus. Culex restuans feeds primarily on birds and also on humans and other mammals. We have 836 collection records of Cx. restuans from 23 counties; it likely occurs statewide. Seasonally, we have collected this species during all 12 months of the year but predominantly in spring. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Noxubee County, Noxubee Refuge, 13 Apr 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex salinarius Coquillett. This moderately abundant mosquito species was originally thought to be a brackish water species, although it commonly occupies freshwater all over the state. Larval sites include drainage ditches, brackish and freshwater marshy or swampy areas, and occasionally large artificial containers. This species feeds on birds, humans, and other mammals. We have collection records of 18,892 specimens from 51 Mississippi counties during all 12 months of the year. Peaks of activity occur in both late spring and fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Marshall County, Wall Doxey State Park, 31 Jul 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex tarsalis Coquillett. Western encephalitis mosquito. This western species is relatively rare east of the Mississippi River. This species is found in drainage ditches, woodland pools, and irrigated areas such as rice fields, where they feed on birds, humans, and other mammals. In western states, Cx. tarsalis is a major pest and vector mosquito. We only have seven collection records from Bolivar, Hancock, Harrison, and Oktibbeha counties, all collected in September and October. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Bolivar County, Benoit, 23 Sep 1983, B.R. Farmer, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culex territans Walker. This species prefers permanent and semi-permanent water such as the margins of lakes, ponds, swamps, and ditches but also may be found in woodland pools, seepage areas, and occasionally large artificial containers. Culex territans feeds primarily on frogs. We have records of 296 specimens from 12 Mississippi counties but it likely occurs statewide. Collections have occurred from March through November with a peak in early fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Holmes County, Holmes County State Park, 13 May 1999, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culiseta inornata (Williston). Winter mosquito. This species is relatively uncommon in Mississippi except during the winter months when it can be collected in moderate numbers in light traps. This species is found in woodland pools, ponds, and drainage ditches, although they may be found occasionally in artificial containers such as barrels. They feed on humans and other large mammals. We have 535 collection records from 19 Mississippi counties with collection records spanning from July through March, but primarily November through early March. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Smith County, Nr. White Oak, 18 Oct 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Culiseta melanura (Coquillett). This species is found in woodland swamps containing cypress, other hardwoods, and stumps but may also prefer small grassy ponds with dark acid water. They feed primarily on birds and rarely, if ever, bite humans. We have 119 collection records of Cs. melanura from nine counties, and they have been collected from March through October with a peak in early fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Jackson County, Gautier, 22 Oct 2002, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Mansonia titillans (Walker). This species was reported as a new record for Mississippi in 2005 (Goddard and Harrison 2005). It prefers freshwater swamps, lake margins, and other permanent water containing floating and emergent vegetation such as water lettuce and, more commonly, water hyacinth. Like Cq. perturbans, larvae of this species obtain oxygen through underwater plant roots. Adults feed primarily on humans and other mammals. We have 211 collection records of Ma. titillans from 14 central and south Mississippi counties from August through October with a peak in mid-September. Specific counties are: Clarke, Copiah, George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Leake, Madison, Pearl River, Rankin, Stone, Wilkinson, and Yazoo. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 18 Oct 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Orthopodomyia alba Baker. This uncommon species is found in canopy tree holes (sometimes artificial containers) and feeds on birds. We only have records of a few (exact number unknown) specimens collected in Oktibbeha County on June 27, 1971 and Clay County on June 13 and 29, 1972 (Fulton 1974). Voucher specimen: larva on slide, Clay County, MS, 13 June 1972, H. Fulton, det. RFD, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Orthopodomyia signifera (Coquillett). This species prefers tree holes and artificial containers and feeds on birds. We have also collected this species from tires and artificial containers in wooded areas. Larvae are strikingly pinkish-red or orange in color. Collection records of Or. signifera include 64 specimens from 12 Mississippi counties, mostly in the central and northern parts of the state during April through December with a peak in the fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Adams County, Natchez, 19 Sep 1985, E. Boles, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora ciliata (Fabricius). Shaggy-legged gallinipper or giant mosquito. This huge mosquito is found in floodwaters and other temporary pools such as grassy ditches and feeds on mammals. We have 205 collection records from 19 Mississippi counties, though it likely occurs statewide. Seasonally, we have records from May through November with a peak in late summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Hinds County, Byram, 7 Aug 2002, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora columbiae (Dyar and Knab). Dark rice field mosquito. This species is found in floodwaters, irrigated fields (particularly rice fields), ground pools, and other temporary pools and feeds primarily on large mammals. We have 3,096 collection records of this species from 35 counties during April through November with a peak in late summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Hinds County, Byram, 7 Aug 2002, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora cyanescens (Coquillett). This species, along with Ps. mathesoni, Ps. horrida, and Ps. ferox, has an iridescent purplish color. Psorophora cyanescens prefers transient pools after heavy rains and feeds on mammals, including humans. On more than one occasion, we have hand-collected this species in open sunlight at mid-day in parking lots. We have 99 collection records from 14 Mississippi counties from northern to southern Mississippi during April through November, with a peak in mid- to late summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Perry County, New Augusta, 29 May 2003, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora discolor (Coquillett). This species occupies grassy ditches and temporary pools and other sites similar to those where Ps. columbiae is found and feeds on large mammals and humans. One bloodmeal analysis revealed 73% of 783 specimens had fed on bovines (Whitehead 1951). We have 29 specimens from five counties scattered throughout the state collected during May through November with a peak in mid-summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Hazelhurst, 2 Aug 2000, D. Ortiz, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora ferox (von Humboldt). White-footed woodland mosquito. This species can be extremely abundant and annoying in certain places and times of the year. In one of our study sites, it was not unusual to collect more than 1,000 Ps. ferox per trap per night. This species is found in temporary woodland pools, often in shady habitats, and feeds on mammals and humans. We have 15,268 collection records from 46 Mississippi counties, although it likely occurs statewide. Seasonally, our records show activity year round; however, numbers increase in April and, depending upon rainfall, may remain high through early fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 12 May 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora horrida (Dyar and Knab). This species is very similar to Ps. ferox and often is mistakenly misidentified as Ps. ferox in mosquito field surveys. This species is found in sites similar to that of Ps. ferox and feeds on mammals, including humans. We have records of 852 specimens from 17 Mississippi counties scattered about the state, collected during May through October with a peak in late summer. Interestingly, an aberrant Psorophora specimen was found by the authors in north Mississippi that keyed to Ps. mexicana (Bellardi) using a standard reference (Darsie and Ward 1981). Comparisons with 43 Ps. mexicana specimens in the USNM revealed that the specimen was, in fact, Ps. horrida and not Ps. mexicana. Such studies highlight difficulties and weaknesses in current U.S. keys (Harrison et al. 2008). Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Noxubee County, Shuqualok, 2 Jul 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora howardii Coquillett. Howard's gallinipper. This large floodwater mosquito is similar in size and appearance to Ps. ciliata and prefers drainage ditches, temporary pools, and floodwaters. Adults feed on mammals, including people, day or night. We have 810 collection records from 31 Mississippi counties and seasonally, records show activity from April through November with a peak in summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Smith County, Nr. White Oak, 11 Sep 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Psorophora mathesoni Belkin and Heinemann. This species occupies shady woodland pools similar to those where Ps. ferox is found, and feeds on mammals, including humans. Our experience with Ps. mathesoni indicates a cyclical emergence pattern, often spanning several years. This species is extremely abundant some years, then seems to disappear for several years. We have 1,864 collection records from ten Mississippi counties from north to south and seasonally, we have records during May through August with a peak in mid-summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Noxubee County, Noxubee Refuge, 13 May 1991, J. Mallet, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Toxorhynchites rutilus septentrionalis (Dyar and Knab). This very large, non-blood-sucking species is found in tree holes and artificial containers where the larvae feed on other mosquito larvae and other small aquatic insects. Adults are active primarily in the daytime and feed on nectar and other plant juices. We have 23 specimens from 11 counties north-to-south, collected during April through November. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Hinds County, Byram, 26 Aug 2001, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Uranotaenia lowii Theobald. This species is found in semi-permanent and permanent waters, especially grassy margins of lakes, ponds, and swamps, and feeds primarily on amphibians. It is easily separated from Ur. sapphirina by having white scales on the hind tarsi and lacking a median longitudinal blue stripe on the scutum. We have records for 257 specimens, mostly from the Mississippi Gulf coast counties, although Michener reported it from Forrest County, 60 miles inland (Michener 1947). Seasonally, we have records from July through December, with a peak in early fall. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Harrison County, Biloxi, 22 Sep 2001, M. Loe, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Uranotaenia sapphirina (Osten Sacken). This small mosquito is similar to Ur. lowii in appearance and habitat preferences. However, Ur. sapphirina have more iridescent blue scales on their sides and a long median longitudinal stripe of such scales on the scutum. They also feed on amphibians. We have records for 5,507 specimens from 32 Mississippi counties. Unlike Ur. lowii, this species occurs statewide. This species is active during April through November with a peak in mid-summer. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Copiah County, Copiah Co. WMA, 27 May 2000, J. Goddard, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Wyeomyia smithii (Coquillett). Pitcher plant mosquito. This small black mosquito is almost exclusively associated with the purple pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea L., although it has occasionally been found in hybrids between S. purpurea and S. flava L., S. leucophylla Rafinesque, S. rubra Walter, and S. alata Wood (Bradshaw 1983). Some authorities believe that Wy. smithii is autogenous and does not seem to feed on any vertebrate animals; however, there are reports of them biting humans (Bradshaw 1980). During a West Nile mosquito survey, the Mississippi Department of Health received reports (anecdotal) of Wy. smithii being collected in CO2-baited CDC light traps. A study by the authors on the ecology of this species found that controlled burning of pitcher-plant fields decimated mosquito larvae residing in the plants, but repopulation occurred within weeks or months (Goddard et al. 2007). We have records for 77 specimens of Wy. smithii collected from April through August with a peak in mid-May. Voucher specimen: adult pinned, Jackson County, Nr. Moss Point, 5 May 2005, W. Varnado, det. BAH, deposited in the MEM, Mississippi State University.

Acknowledgments

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT:
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. REFERENCES CITED

This project was partially funded by a grant from the CDC to the Mississippi Department of Health, “Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (West Nile Surveillance portion),” U50\CCU416826–03. This article has been approved for publication as Journal Article No. J-11605 of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State University.

Footnotes
  • 4

    Fulton, H.R. 1974. The seasonal occurrence of mosquitoes in Clay, Lowndes, and Oktibbeha Counties, Mississippi and their associated pathogens, M.S. Thesis, Department of Entomology. Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.

  • 5

    Carter, W.B. 1976. Species composition and seasonal distribution of mosquitoes in Lafayette County, Mississippi, 1975–1976. M.S. Thesis, Department of Biology, University of Mississippi.

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  2. ABSTRACT:
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. LIST OF MISSISSIPPI MOSQUITOES
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. REFERENCES CITED
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