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Adult Description: The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus adult is about 1/4-inch long, has long legs, a pair of clear wings and a slender body. This species is easily recognized by bold black shiny scales, and distinct silver-white scales on the body. The head bears compound eyes, thread-like antennae and long, slender sucking mouthparts. Non-piercing males can be distinguished from females because they bear very hairy "feathery" antennae used for auditory structures to locate females.
Male mosquitoes feed on plant juices and do not pierce. Female mosquitoes take blood meals to nourish eggs. Unlike many other Illinois mosquitoes, the Asian Tiger Mosquito feeds during daylight hours, not at night.
Larva Description: Eggs are approximately 0.1 centimeter in length and dark brown to black. Eggs are laid in moist areas just above the water surface, and are capable of overwintering. Eggs hatch upon inundation and immature stages (larvae and pupae) of the life cycle occur in water.
The wormlike mosquito larvae swim with a wriggling motion and are sometimes called wrigglers. About 10 days after hatching, the larvae are about 1/4-inch long, and completely grown. They then morph into comma-shaped pupae that are sometimes called "tumblers" because of their tumbling motion in water when disturbed. The pupa stage completes their development into adult mosquitoes. When fully developed, an adult mosquito will emerge from each pupa at the water surface. Adult mosquitoes emerge from pupae in as little as 10 to 14 days after the eggs hatch during the summer.
Host Plant: None
The Asian tiger mosquito is an appropriate vector for blood borne diseases. While this mosquito can transfer diseases to human hosts, it can also harbor diseases that affect livestock and pets.
The Asian tiger mosquito, like all other mosquitoes, lays its eggs in water, and is able to migrate by flight. Thus, the mosquito has been able to increase its range by flight to unoccupied areas and laying its eggs. The abundance of the Tiger mosquito is correlated with the reduction in numbers of other mosquitoes that formerly carried diseases now eradicated. Thus, there is an open niche that this mosquito may fill.
The Asian tiger mosquito was first documented in the United States (Texas) in 1985. A year later it was found in Florida (at a tire dump site) near Jacksonville. Since that time, this species has spread rapidly throughout the eastern states, including all of Florida's 67 counties. The distribution of the Asian Tiger mosquito is currently limited to the southeastern quadrant of the U.S., and small areas in New York and Arizona.
Like other mosquitoes, the Asian tiger mosquito lays its eggs in standing water. Therefore, the mosquito is abundant in wetland areas.
Present throughout most of Southeastern United States, north to New Jersey and west through central Texas, and everywhere in between. Introduced populations have been found in California and Washington state.
The Asian tiger mosquito has spread to and now occupies much of Texas.
Resembles other mosquitoes, but is easily recognizable by its white, tiger-like stripes on the body.
Management of adult populations is more complicated than for other species due to insecticide tolerance to malathion, temephos and bediocarb.
Eliminate any standing water, change pet watering dishes, overflow dishes for potted plants, and bird bath water frequently. Do not allow water to accumulate in tires, flower pots, buckets, rain barrels, gutters etc. Use personal protection to avoid mosquito bites. Long sleeves and insect repellent such as DEET will reduce exposure to bites. The Asian tiger mosquito is a day feeder that peaks in the early morning and late afternoon. Limiting outdoor activities during crepuscular periods (dawn and dusk) when mosquitoes are generally most active, prevents attacks.
Gerhardt RR, Gottfried KL, Apperson CS, Davis BC, Erwin PC, Smith AB, Panella NA, Powell EE, Nasci RS. 2001. First isolation of La Crosse Virus from naturally infected Aedes albopictus. Emerging Infectious Diseases 7:807-811.
Hawley WA. 1988. The biology of Aedes albopictus. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. Supplement #1 1-40.
Mitchell CJ, Niebylski ML, Smith GC, Karabatsos N, Martin D, Mutebi JP, Craig GB Jr, Mahler MJ.1992. Isolation of eastern equine encephalitis virus from Aedes albopictus in Florida. Science 257:526-527.
Moore, CG, & Mitchell, CJ 1997. Aedes albopictus in the United States: ten-year presence and public health implications. Emerging infectious diseases, 3, 329-334.
Sprenger D, Wuithiranyagool T. 1986. The discovery and distribution of Aedes albopictus in Harris County, Texas. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 2:217-219