Most Wanted By PMP’s – Yellow fever mosquito
Yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti
AKA: “daytime biter”
Description: Adults are ~0.15 to 0.25 in. with white scales on the thorax (top-side) that resemble a violin. Tarsal segments of the hind legs have white bottom bands that look like stripes. Abdomen is darkish brown to black and may have white scales. Females are larger than males, have small palps tipped with white scales, and short hairs on antennae. Males have plumose antennae. Female mouthparts work for blood feeding while male mouthparts work for nectar feeding. As typical with all Aedes species, the tip of the abdomen ends in a point.
Life Cycle: Complete metamorphosis or egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. Adults can live ~2 to 4 weeks. Adults have three strategies, sylvan (rural areas; breeding in tree holes), peridomestic (man-made areas), and domestic (urban areas as well as in and around homes).
Habitat: After a successful blood meal, females singly place 100 to 200 eggs per batch (up to 5 batches per female lifetime). During hours or days, and in more than one location, eggs are placed upon damp surfaces within areas that flood (tree holes and containers). Larvae develop through 4 instars. Breathing through siphons, larvae or “wrigglers” wiggle irregularly within water when disturbed. Pupae move and respond to stimulation. Named “tumblers,” pupae do not feed and develop in ~2 days. Taking in air to expand the abdomen, adults emerge head first via splitting the pupal case.
Food: Adult females feed upon blood and nectar. Adult males feed upon nectar. Larvae feed upon small aquatic organisms, algae, and particles of plant and animal material.
Range: Tropical, subtropical, and some temperate climates.
Unique behavior: Adult females prefer to bite during the day, indoors, and primarily bite humans. Adult females can bite people without being noticed because they approach from behind and bite on the ankles and elbows.
Significance: The primary mosquito vector for Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and other arboviruses. For Yellow Fever mosquitoes to cause an outbreak in the continental United States, the following are required.
- People infected with Zika, Chikungunya, or Dengue must enter the United States.
- An Aedes aegypti mosquito in the United States bites an infected person during the first week of infection when the virus is in the person’s blood.
- The infected mosquito lives long enough for the virus to multiply.
- The mosquito bites another person.
- The cycle continues multiple times to start an outbreak.
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