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The Biology of the Mosquito

Mosquitoes are small, long legged, two winged insects belonging to the order Diptera and the family Culicidae. Adult mosquitoes differ from other flies because they have scales on the wing veins and wing margin, and they have an elongate proboscis used to bite and draw blood from their host, which is needed for egg development. This group contains over 2,600 species, with about 162 species in the US, belonging to 13 genera and 3 subfamilies.

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Life History:

Mosquitoes have four separate stages in their development: egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The first three stages occur in the water (the eggs may be on wet or damp soil). The larvae also go through four stages (called instars) in its development into a pupae. The adult is the active, flying insect most of us are familiar with, and feeds upon plant juices and nectar for food, and the female needs blood from a host for egg development.

For more information on the biology of the mosquito, please check these links:

[ Eggs | Larvae | Pupae | Adult ]

Mosquito Control for the homeowner - click this link for information on how you can reduce the chance of mosquito emergence in your area. Due to concerns that West Nile Virus may become a health risk to area residents this year, CMMCP urges residents to prevent water from accumulating in artificial containers and letting the water stagnate for more than a week. Artificial water-holding containers can be a source for the types of mosquito species (Culex & Ochlerotatus) that transmit West Nile Virus. These containers can include toys, pails, barrels, tires, boats, swimming pool covers, un-maintained swimming pools and concrete structures. If residents are aware of large artificial water-holding containers such as an un-maintained swimming pool, concrete structures that may be producing mosquitoes, or any areas of stagnant water, they can contact CMMCP by telephone at (508) 393-3055 or fill out our online request form here and a Field Technician will be assigned to investigate the area and if necessary treat the site to prevent emergence.

Massachusetts Mosquito Control Communities - this will send you to a table showing the communities in Massachusetts that currently belong to an organized mosquito control district. Links to the individual District's websites are listed.

Mosquito Species in Eastern & Central Massachusetts - check this link for information about the 51 mosquito species found in Massachusetts. Brief information on habitat, host preference and behavior is included. For more detailed information, please contact our office at (508) 393-3055 or e-mail us.

New Mosquito Species Discovery in Massachusetts in 2000

Press Release ( 15k) - July 16, 2000 - discovery of new mosquito species in Massachusetts - Aedes japonicus -

Click the link for the 2000 Ae. japonicus distribution table & map

For other mosquito, arbovirus, and West Nile Virus links, check our "Virus Info" link .


Massachusetts Department of Public Health Fact Sheets

Central Mass. Public Relations handouts (.pdf): Please call our office if you need additional copies of our PR handouts - you may also check your local library or town hall.

Additional Information:

Prevention from mosquito bites

Prevention from mosquito bites (in Spanish)

NOTE: documents - require Adobe Document Reader - get it here