Subfamily Culicinae, tribe Aedini. Haemagogus includes 28 species divided between two subgenera, Conopostegus (four species) and Haemagogus (24 species). Genus abbreviation – Hg.
Haemagogus are brightly coloured mosquitoes that resemble sabethines. The scutum is covered with smooth metallic scales in almost all species, and the acrostichal setae, dorsocentral setae and prescutellar setae are absent centrally. The antepronota are large and close together. The adults are distinguished from sabethines by the position of the hindcoxa below the base of the mesomeron and the absence of prespiracular setae. They are usually distinguished from other New World aedines without much difficulty by the character of the scutal scaling and the presence of silver scales in a single broad vertical band (subgenus Haemagogus) or three vertical arcs (subgenus Conopostegus) extending from the scutum to the coxae. Larvae are separated from those of other genera in the New World, except some other Aedini, based on one or more of the following characters: maxillary brush present; hypostomal suture complete; occipital foramen circular, with distinct collar; comb and pecten both present; seta 5-VIII inserted well below dorsal margin of segment X; siphon unmodified, with a single pair of seta 1-S inserted distal to pecten; ventral brush (seta 4-X) with five or six pairs of setae. The larvae are distinguishable with some difficulty from similar species of other aedine genera by the combination of (1) setae 5–7-P borne on small separate tubercles, (2) seta 12-I present and/or seta 7-III–V much larger than seta 9 on the same segment, (3) seta 3-VII very long and usually single (similar to sabethines) and (4) saddle incomplete. See Aedini.
Arnell (1973) postulated that “Haemagogus is one of the more derived genera of the tribe Aedini”, “undoubtedly derived from the genus Aedes”. He also noted that the male genitalia of species of Haemagogus and Finlaya (as the Kochi Group of Aedes subgenus Finlaya) exhibit “remarkable similarities”, but then stated that “there is little in the adults or immature stages to indicate relationship”. However, the results of the phylogenetic study of Reinert et al. (2009) based on morphological data appear to contradict the latter statement, wherein Haemagogus was recovered as the sister of Downsiomyia in a clade comprised of (Finlaya + Danielsia) + (Downsiomyia + Haemagogus). Haemagogus was not associated with other generic-level taxa in the phylogeny of Wilkerson et al. (2015). A close affinity between Haemagogus and the Oriental Heizmannia proposed by Edwards (1922) and Mattingly (1957) and other authors is not supported by the phylogenetic analyses. Four species of Haemagogus formed a strongly supported sister relationship with two species of Howardina in the maximum likelihood phylogeny of Soghigian et al. (2017) based on seven molecular markers.
The larvae of all Haemagogus species live in cavities. They are found mainly in tree-holes and bamboo, but are often found in the axils of bromeliads, fallen fruit husks, and occasionally in ground pools, rock-holes and artificial containers in urban areas. Haemagogus adults are active during the daylight hours. They inhabit primary and secondary tropical forests, open deciduous forests and mangroves. Species that inhabit primary forest are largely arboreal and feed primarily in the forest canopy. Many species readily attack humans in forest clearings, open secondary growth and littoral situations associated with mangroves.
Several species, including Hg. janthinomys, Hg. equinus, Hg. lucifer, Hg. leucocelaenus, Hg. mesodentatus, Hg. spegazzinii and Hg. capricornii are vectors of sylvatic yellow fever virus. Ilheus virus has been isolated from Hg. janthinomys and Hg. spegazzinii in Panama and from Hg. leucocelaenus in Brazil.
Haemagogus species are distributed from Argentina through Central America and into North America as far as the southern tip of Texas, but they are most abundant in the forests in the central region of South America.
Lane, 1953 (Neotropical Region); Forattini, 1965 (Neotropical Region); Cova-García et al., 1966 (Venezuela); Belkin et al., 1970 (Jamaica); Arnell, 1973 (generic revision); Clark-Gil & Darsie, 1983 (Guatemala); Darsie, 1985 (keys, Argentina); Reinert, 2002 (female genitalia);; Reinert et al., 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 (morphology, phylogeny); Wilkerson et al., 2015 (phylogeny); Soghigian et al., 2017 (phylogenetic relationships).