Male vs. female

by Roland Mortimer,
Rio de Janeiro

As can be seen from the images, the males of both Culicini and Anophelini have beautifully plumed antennae whereas the females have antennae with very few sparse hairs distributed along their length. The males of these species also have palpi as long as the proboscis or longer and usually curved in an upward direction. 

The female's palpi are usually short stubby affairs in Culcini but as long as the male palpi in the Anophelini. The palpi of the male culicines are bushy and the two terminal joints tend to be upturned whereas those of the male anophelines are rather club-shaped. 
Although the male proboscis may be as long as the female's, the mouth parts are usually not well developed or may even be absent altogether. Both species, male and female live on fruit and flower nectar until the female needs to seek blood protein to mature her offspring.

Though these insects seem sinister in their appearance and their mode of life, they still present beautiful aspects when studied closely, Aedes aegypti being black with white scale spots on her body and on the bases of the antennae, her rear legs have five silver-white rings spaced along their lengths. Aedes also has a white 'Lyre' on her thorax with two yellow 'Chords' in the centre. Aedes albopictus, so called from the Latin 'Albu' from albino (white) and 'pictis' from the Latin for painted, thus white-painted, is similar but there is a single broad median stripe on the scutellum. In European countries the common name for this group is 'Tiger mosquito' because of the 'stripes' and spots on the mosquito's body.

Comments to the author Roland Mortimer welcomed.

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Published in the August 1999 edition of Micscape Magazine.

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