Genus Limatus Theobald, 1901

Type species: 

Limatus durhamii Theobald, 1901a. [Theobald (1907) introduced subfamily Limatinae for this genus.]


Subfamily Culicinae, tribe Sabethini. Limatus includes only nine species. Genus abbreviation – Li.


The adults of Limatus are unique in having a single unguis (claw) on the hindleg, and differ from all other mosquitoes of Sabethini in having scales on the prespiracular area instead of setae. They generally resemble Sabethes in overall ornamentation, but the scutum is distinctive in bearing a striking pattern of gold, blue and violet scales. The short and broad caudolateral slits of the occipital foramen and the absence of an apical tooth on the maxilla distinguishes the larvae of Limatus from those of Sabethes and the majority of species currently currently classified in Wyeomyia. Seta 1-C are inserted close together, but the larvae are otherwise very similar to those of Wyeomyia. See Sabethini.

Phylogenetic relationships: 

Whereas Limatus was embedded within Wyeomyia in the morphological phylogeny of Judd (1996), it was recovered as a monophyletic lineage outside of Wyeomyia in the separate morphological and allozyme phylogenies of Motta et al. (2007). Limatus was recovered in a sister relationship with Sabethes in the cladistic analyses of morphological data conducted by Harbach & Kitching (1998) and Harbach & Peyton (2000), but was paired with genus Malaya when Harbach et al. (2007) included Kimia in the data set of the latter authors. The phylogenetic relationships of the species of Limatus have not been investigated.

Bionomics and disease relations: 

Limatus are forest mosquitoes. Larvae have been found in cavities such as bamboo, tree holes, coconut husks, cacao pods, fallen leaves and spathes, snail shells, rock holes along streams and a variety of small artificial containers. Adults have been captured during landing-biting collections made at ground level and on towers in forest.

Wyeomyia virus has been isolated from a pool of Limatus in Trinidad, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus has been isolated from Li. flavisetosus, but species of the genus are unlikely to be of medical or economic importance to humans.


Species of Limatus occur in Central America, eastern South America and the West Indies.

Principal references: 

Lane, 1953 (Neotropical Region, genus and species descriptions, keys, distributions); Forattini, 1965 (description, bionomics, distributions); Cova-Garcia et al., 1966 (Venezuela, description, keys); Belkin et al., 1970 (Jamaica, Li. hoffmani, description, bionomics, distribution); Harbach & Peyton, 1993 (comparative morphology of larval maxillae).

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith