Genus Wyeomyia Theobald, 1901

Type species: 

Wyeomyia grayii Theobald, 1901. [Leicester (1908) introduced the family-group name Wyeomyinae for this genus. The earlier Wyeomiinae Lahille (1904) is unavailable.]


Subfamily Culicinae, tribe Sabethini. Wyeomyia includes 140 species. Thirty species are without subgeneric placement; the remainder are divided between 17 subgenera (number of species in parentheses): Antunesmyia (3), Caenomyiella (1), Cruzmyia (4), Decamyia (3), Dendromyia (6), Dodecamyia (1), Exallomyia (3), Hystatomyia (9), Menolepis (1), Miamyia (7), Nunezia (3), Phoniomyia (22), Prosopolepis (1), Spilonympha (7), Triamyia (2), Wyeomyia (35) and Zinzala (2). Genus abbreviation – Wy.


Wyeomyia is difficult to characterise because it includes unnatural assemblages of species that require revision. The adults resemble Limatus and Sabethes more closely than the adults of other genera of Sabethini in the New World. They are distinguished from both of these genera by having the scutum covered with scales ranging from a relatively dull bronzy colour with a slight metallic sheen (most species) to metallic gold. They also differ from the adults of Limatus in having prespiracular setae, and are distinguished from all species of Sabethes except Sa. petrocchiae by the presence of prealar setae. Those species that have the proboscis distinctly longer than the forefemur differ from similar species of other New World sabethines in having the upper calypter of the wing without setae. Some species with a short proboscis (about as long as or shorter than the forefemur) resemble certain species of Shannoniana and Trichoprosopon, but these can be distinguished by the absence of setae on the clypeus and the absence or presence of one to three setae on the upper calypter. Wyeomyia larvae are distinguished from the larvae of other New World sabethines by the following features: occipital foramen with dorsolateral slit-like extensions (distinction from Johnbelkinia, Onirion, Shannoniana and Trichoprosopon); seta 1-C not exceptionally close together (distinction from Limatus); maxillary brush present, rarely absent (distinction from Johnbelkinia, Isostomyia, Shannoniana and Runchomyia); maxillary palpus freely attached to maxillary body (distinction from Johnbelkinia and Sabethes); seta 8-M present (distinction from Trichoprosopon). See Sabethini.

Phylogenetic relationships: 

Based on morphological data, Wyeomyia was recovered as the sister of Sabethes in the phylogenetic analysis of Judd (1996), as the sister of Limatus + Sabethes in the analyses of Harbach & Kitching (1998) and Harbach & Peyton (2000), and was placed in an unresolved relationship with other New World sabethine genera when the Old World Kimia was included in the data set of the last authors (Harbach et al., 2007). A phylogenetic analysis of Wyeomyia, principally subgeneric relationships, based on morphological and allozyme data (Motta et al., 2007) provided evidence that the genus is not a monophyletic lineage because it includes Onirion. Contrary to the findings of Judd (1996), the results of the study show that Limatus and Phoniomyia are separate monophyletic lineages outside of Wyeomyia; however, the authors pointed out that it was not possible to test the sister-group relationship of subgenus Hystatomyia and Phoniomyia that led Judd (1998) to formally reduce the latter to subgeneric status in Wyeomyia. Consequently, the placement of Phoniomyia in a sister relationship to Wyeomyia (including Onirion) may be due to the exclusion of Hystatomyia from the data set. Likewise, the placement of Onirion within Wyeomyia may have been influenced by the exclusion of morphological characters that distinguish the adults, larvae and pupae of Onirion from those of Wyeomyia.

Bionomics and disease relations: 

Wyeomyia are principally forest mosquitoes. The larvae inhabit small collections of water in bromeliads and aroids, flower bracts, broken bamboo and bamboo stumps, tree holes, pitcher plants, and occasionally artificial and other containers. Adults are active during the day. They are usually found in damp forests near larval habitats. Various species are found at all elevations in forest canopy, but some seem to be restricted to ground level. Most of the species take blood meals and females readily feed on humans that enter their realm.

Wyeomyia are not known to vector disease agents and have little if any economic importance to humans; however, Ilheus and Venezuelan encephalitis viruses have been isolated from Wy. medioalbipes in Trinidad.


Wyeomyia is predominantly Neotropical, but its distribution extends extends across the Caribbean into eastern North America.

Principal references: 

Lane, 1953 (Neotropical Region, genus and species descriptions, keys, distributions); Correa & Ramalho, 1956 (subgenus Phoniomyia); Forattini, 1965 (genus description, medically important species, bionomics, distributions); Cova-Garcia et al., 1966 (Venezuela, genus description, keys to species, literature); Belkin et al., 1970 (taxonomy, Jamaica); Clark-Gil & Darsie, 1983 (Guatemala, keys); Darsie, 1985 (Argentina, keys); Zavortink, 1986 (subgenus Zinzala); Harbach & Peyton, 1993 (comparative morphology of larval maxillae); Harbach & Peyton, 1990, 1992 (subgenera Caenomyiella and Exallomyia, respectively); Motta & Lourenço-de-Oliveira, 1995, 2000 (subgenus Dendromyia), 2005 (subgenus Spilonympha); Motta et al., 2007 (morphology, classification, phylogeny); Porter, 2014 (subgenus Nunezia, comparative morphology).

Nomen dubium

pusillum Lutz, 1928

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