The recent mosquito specimens collected in Cheltenham and initially identified as being the Asian Tiger Mosquito ( Aedes albopictus), do not belong to that species of mosquito.
The mosquitoes are, in fact, Culiseta annulata.
Culiseta annulata is a widespread and common mosquito of the British Isles, and is also one of the most common mosquitoes in Ireland. This mosquito breeds in a wide variety of different sites in natural and artificial waters. These can be in sunlit areas or deeply shaded. The water in which the eggs, larvae and pupae are to be found can be fresh or brackish, clean or polluted and may include ponds, ditches, marshes, garden water butts and cisterns.
The adult female Culiseta annulata feed both indoors and outdoors on a wide variety of vertebrate hosts including humans.
Unlike most British mosquitoes, the aquatic stages, the males and the females are present throughout the year. All stages are able to over winter. When there are reports of mosquito biting in late autumn or early spring they can almost always be attributed to Culiseta annulata.
The reason why many people confuse this mosquito for the Asian Tiger Mosquito is probably because of the very distinctive and boldly striped legs. The legs of both species have rings of white scales which give this banded appearance.
The mosquitoes are, however, very different when examined closely.
The following approximate figures show that Culiseta is a much larger mosquito, with longer body length, greater wingspan and longer legs. (Adult size varies in mosquitoes, as in many insects, but the differences here are so great that it is worth highlighting them)
|Mosquito species, and feature||Size|
|Body length, not including the mouthparts||6 - 7 mm|
|Leg length||13 - 14 mm|
|Wing span||13 - 15 mm|
|Aedes albopictus (the Asian Tiger Mosquito)|
|Body length, not including the mouthparts||4 - 5 mm|
|Leg length||7 - 8 mm|
|Wing span||approx 7 - 8 mm|
This page provided by Killgerm Group, on behalf of the Mosquito Watch programme
Last reviewed: 5 April 2012