Galapagos Species Checklist

Culex quinquefasciatus Say 1823

moscas y mosquitos, southern house mosquito

A brown mosquito with cross-veins on the wings, and narrow cross-banding coloration on their blunt-tipped abdomens.

This is a night biting, domestic mosquito. Larvae of this species are found in foul water, water containers and rain barrels. Adult females are generally believed to be predominantly bird feeders (Carpenter and LaCasse 1955). This species is a vector of Wuchereria bancrofti in tropical and subtropical regions (Carpenter and LaCasse 1955).












Taxon category: Accepted

Taxon origin: Introduced - established


Habitat preferences: Urban areas.

Feeding type: Polyphagous

Feeding preferences: Humans, birds.

Trophic role: Omnivorous

Reproduction mode: Exclusively sexual

Reproductive biology: The adult female lays its eggs in still freshwater. The eggs hatch 1-2 days later and spend another 5-8 days feeding on aquatic microorganisms as larvae. Females need a blood meal before laying their eggs. This is a night biting, domestic mosquito. Larvae of this species are found in foul water, water containers, and rain barrels.

Distribution origin: Cosmopolitan

Associated species in Galapagos: No

Disease vector: This species is a vector of Wuchereria bancrofti in tropical and subtropical regions. Likely vector of microfilariae found in the blood of Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, and Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus as reported by Harmon et al. (1984-85). Vector of avian malaria and possibly West Nile Virus.


Mode of introduction: Accidental

Status in Galapagos: Naturalized

Invasion risk score: Extreme risk

Impact in Galapagos: A vector for avian pox and West Nile virus, but these diseases have yet to arrive in Galapagos.

Impact elsewhere: This species is an important carrier of diseases such as avian malaria, avian pox, and West Nile virus. Its introduction to Hawai'i in the late 19th Century had a devastating effect on the islands' endemic birds due to the diseases it spread. As a result only 19 out of 42 species and subspecies of honey creeper now remain there.

Control History in Galapagos: In Galapagos it is important to prevent diseases from arriving on the island, and therefore necessary to control mosquitoes as potential vectors. Control methods include fumigation of aeroplanes to prevent further introductions, use of insect traps non-attractive lights on boats to minimize insect movement between islands. Regular monitoring to ensure that these methods are effective is needed. Continued intensive campaigns to ensure there are no standing water sources in urban areas are also important.

Known Pest elsewhere: Tropics and sub-tropics

Year of first record: 1985


Map of specimen collection localities or observation records for this species in our collections database.

Distribution: Cosmotropical; San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana.


  • Peck, S.B. Heraty, J., Landry, B. & Sinclair, B.J. (1998) Introduced insect fauna of an oceanic archipelago: The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Am. Entomol. 44: 218-237.
  • Whiteman, N.K. Goodman, S.J., Sinclair, B.J., Walsh, T., Cunningham, A.A., Kramer, L.D. & Parker, P.D. (2005) Establishment of the avian disease vector Culex quinquefasciatus Say, 1823 (Diptera: Culicidae) on the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Ibis 147: 844-847.
  • Bataille, A. Cunningham, A.A., Cedeño, V., Cruz, M., Eastwood, G., Fonseca, D.M., Causton, C.E., Azuero, R., Loayza, J., Cruz Martinez, J.D. & Goodman, S.J. (2009) Evidence for regular ongoing introductions of mosquito disease vectors into the Galápagos Islands. Proc. R. Soc. B published online 12 August 2009, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0998
  • Sinclair, B.J. Peck, S.B. (2005) An annotated checklist of the Diptera of the Galápagos Archipelago (Ecuador). Charles Darwin Research Station, unpublished, 64 pp.
  • Causton, C.E. Sevilla, C. (2008) Latest Records of Introduced Invertebrates in Galapagos and Measures to control them. Galapagos Report 2006-2007, CDF, GNP and INGALA, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador, p. 142-145.
  • Gerecke, R. Peck, S.B. & Pehofer, H.E. (1995) The invertebrate fauna of the inland waters of the Galápagos Archipelago (Ecuador) - a limnological and zoogeographical summary. Arch. Hydrobiol./ Suppl. 107(2): 113-147.
  • Nishida, G.M. Evenhuis, N.L. (2000) Arthropod pests of conservation significance in the Pacific: a preliminary assessment of selected groups. Sherley, G. (ed.), Invasive species in the Pacific: a technical review and draft regional strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), Apia, Samoa, p. 115-142.

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