How Many Types of Mosquitoes Are There?
With more than 3,000 species worldwide, there are a lot of different types of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are known as both a nuisance and the world’s deadliest animal across the globe. There are, thankfully, nowhere near that many species found in the US.
Out of all of the mosquitoes currently recognized, only about 176 of those species are documented to be found within the continental United States. States like West Virginia have the fewest species of mosquitoes, with 26 species being found in the Appalachian region state. Meanwhile states like Texas and Florida have been recorded as have been hosts to a far greater number over recent years. Texas has the most with 85 while the sunshine state comes in at a close second having 80 identified species.Some of those mosquitoes, like Aedes Albopictus, are common while others are found less frequently.
Each different species of mosquito is unique from the next and the presence of a particular species is dependent on factors like season, temperature, and habitat. Some mosquitoes are only found in certain areas of the world while others are far more common.s
The following mosquitoes are the most commonly found across the United States:
- Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus): When it comes to invasive mosquito species, the Asian Tiger mosquito reigns as number one. This species of mosquito is a vector for Dengue Fever, and has the potential carrier to be carriers of Yellow Fever, encephalitis, and heart-worm in pets. Like its common name suggests, the Asian Tiger is native to the continent of Asia. After its first appearance in Houston, Texas, it is speculated that this species was most likely brought to the United States through shipments of scrap tires from northern Asia. The common name for Aedes albopictus originates in the species signature striped appearance. At approximately 3/16 of an inch in length, the Asian Tiger’s body is commonly black with one white stripe on its body and several white stripes across its legs. Watch out during the day because this species is known to be an aggressive daytime biter.
- Northern House Mosquito (Culex pipiens): The Northern House Mosquito is known to be the most common pest mosquito found in both urban and suburban areas. Though normally considered to prey mainly on birds, urban strains of Culex pipiens have been recorded to have a predilection for mammalian hosts and will feed readily on humans. This mosquito is acknowledged as being one of the species primarily responsible for the transmission of the West Nile Virus to humans, birds and other mammals. They are also the primary vector for both St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) and West Nile Virus in the eastern US. Interestingly, the presence of Culex pipiens is also an indicator of polluted bodies of water being in the immediate vicinity. This species appearance is plain brown while having white markings on its legs and body. The Northern House Mosquito is a crepuscular hunter, most active around dusk and dawn.
- Anopheles quadrimaculatus: As the chief vector for Malaria within the US, A. quadrimaculatus is rightly dubbed “the common malaria mosquito.” This species of Mosquito native to eastern North America and its range extends from southern Canada to Florida and west to areas of Minnesota and parts of Mexico. The common malaria mosquito is most active in summer months and in warm climates while also preferring humans and large mammals as their meals. It is currently recorded that members of this species are also known to be vectors for transmitting disease pathogens such as Cache Valley Virus, West Nile Virus and St. Louis encephalitis. These mosquitoes are also common hosts for dog heart-worm and are known to be vectors for other parasites. A. quadrimaculatusis another invasive species of mosquito that will often frequent houses and other man-made shelters. They are know to have a rather painless, barely noticeable, bite in comparison to other mosquito species though females will actually bite a host for blood repeatedly (males prefer to eat nectar exclusively). Mosquitoes from this species appear most frequently in rural swamps and wetlands. They are known to have a dark coloration due to being covered in dark brown to black hairs. Like the Northern House Mosquito, this species is most commonly active at the hours of dawn and dusk.