Mansonia titillans (Walker, 1848), original combination: Culex titillans.
Subfamily Culicinae, tribe Mansoniini. Mansonia is one of two similar genera included in tribe Mansoniini. It includes 25 species classified in two subgenera: Mansonia (15 species) and Mansonioides (10 species). Genus abbreviation – Ma.
Adults of Mansonia are generally large mosquitoes characterised by the presence of broad, asymmetrical scales on the wing veins. There is often a mixture of dark and pale scales that imparts a speckled appearance to the wings. Mansonia resemble some species of Culex, Aedini and Coquillettidia, but the tarsal claws are simple, the abdomen is truncate in females (distinctions from aedine genera), pulvilli are not evident (distinction from Culex) and postspiracular setae are present (distinction from Old World species of Coquillettidia). New World species of Coquillettidia possess postspiracular setae, but differ from Mansonia in having a conspicuous preapical white band on the anterior surface of the femora. The larvae of Mansonia resemble those of Coquillettidia in having the spiracular apparatus and siphon distinctively modified for piercing plant tissues. They differ from Coquillettidia in having the distal part of the antenna fused with and much shorter than the basal part. See Mansoniini.
Morphological data strongly support the sister relationship of Coquillettidia + Mansonia (Harbach & Kitching, 1998). The phylogeny of the subgenera and species has not been investigated.
The larvae of Mansonia species occur in permanent waters in association with aquatic plants that have roots used for attachment by the siphon to obtain oxygen from air cells for respiration. Larvae of some species burrow into debris on the bottom whereas others cling to the roots of plants in floating masses. Water lettuce (Pistia) is commonly used as a host plant, particularly by species of subgenus Mansonioides. Larvae detach and re-attach to host plants quite readily. The females of several species are vicious nocturnal biters.
Mansonia titillans of subgenus Mansonia is an important pest in South and Central America and in the southern United States. It is known to transmit various arboviruses, including Venezuelan equine encephalitis. Some species of subgenus Mansonioides transmit several arboviruses, but they are mainly important as vectors of the helminths that cause Brugian filariasis in India and Southeast Asia. Mansonia uniformis, which is widely distributed from western Africa through southern Asia to Japan and the Australasian Region, is a vector of Wuchereria bancrofti in Western New Guinea.
Mansonia has a nearly worldwide distribution. Species of subgenus Mansonia occur in the New World and those of subgenus Mansonioides occur in the Old World. The majority of species are tropical, but several range into the colder parts of the world.
Lane, 1953 (Neotropical Region [including subgenus Rhynchotaenia of Coquillettidia); Belkin, 1962 (South Pacific [including Coquillettidia], taxonomy); Ronderos & Bachmann, 1963 (Neotropical Region); Forattini, 1965 (Neotropical Region); Cova-Garcia et al., 1966 (Venezuela); Delfinado, 1966 (Philippines); Belkin et al., 1970 (Jamaica); Tanaka et al., 1979 (Japan); Darsie, 1985 (Argentina, keys); Lee et al., 1988 (Australasian Region); Service, 1990 (Afrotropical Region); Rattanarithikul & Panthusiri, 1994 (Thailand, keys, medically important species).
conopas (von Frauenfeld, 1867)