Tinolestes was proposed as a distinct genus by Coquillett (1906), with the new species latisquama Coquillett, 1906 as its type and only included species. Howard et al. (1915) synonymised Tinolestes with Culex, and Dyar (1918) resurrected it to subgeneric rank. Dyar (1928) placed latisquama in subgenus Melanoconion, and as a consequence Tinolestes became a synonym of Melanoconion. Lane (1953) restored Tinolestes to subgeneric rank and synonymised subgenera Micraedes Coquillett, Isostomyia Coquillett and Anoedioporpa Dyar with it. Stone et al. (1959) included Tinolestes, along with Micraedes and Anoedioporpa, in subgenus Aedinus Bourroul, 1904 based on the short palpus in males, but Belkin (1968) noted that this character occurs independently in several obviously unrelated groups and reinstated Tinolestes as a monobasic subgenus of Culex. Two species, breviculus Senevet & Abonnenc, 1939 and cauchensis Floch & Abonnenc, 1945 were transferred from subgenus Melanoconionto subgenus Tinolestes by Sirivanakarn (1983).