Subfamily Culicinae. Culisetini only includes genus Culiseta.
Culisetini is characterised by the presence of setae at the base of subcosta on the lower surface of the wing, but these setae are not unique to members of the tribe. They also occur in Coquillettidia (Austromansonia) tenuipalpis and the two species of genus Opifex, all indigenous to New Zealand. The larvae are remarkably diverse in the chaetotaxy of the head, the length of the antennae and details of the terminal abdominal segments. ADULTS - Maxillary palpus short in female, variable in length in male but usually as long as the proboscis; spiracular setae present; postspiracular setae absent; pulvilli not evident; abdomen of female bluntly rounded, eighth segment not retractile; gonocoxite of male genitalia rather long, basal lobe present, apical lobe small in some species, absent in others; gonostylus simple, with terminal claw; claspettes absent. LARVAE - Head wider than long; comb and pecten present; single pair of seta 1-S present at base of siphon. See Culicinae.
The affinities of the tribe are uncertain. The only included genus is extremely generalised and may consist of several phyletic lines from which some of the other genera of Culicidae have been derived. Similarities of some species have been noted with species of tribes Aedini, Culicini, Ficalbiini and Orthopodomyiini. Culisetini was paired with Toxorhynchitini in the implied weighting analysis of Harbach & Kitching (1998), but the authors admitted that this relationship was problematic.
The immature stages of most species develop in bogs, marshes, ponds, streams, small ground and rock pools. Several species are sometimes found in artificial containers and occasionally in tree holes. An African species, Culiseta fraseri, is restricted to tree holes. Several Australian species breed underground. Species generally live in colder regions or at higher elevations. Little is known of the biology of the adults. Several species feed on domestic animals and some, especially those of the subgenus Culiseta, readily attack humans, but the preferred hosts of most species are unknown. Eggs are usually laid on the surface of the water in boat-shaped masses, but there are exceptions. The eggs of species belonging in subgenera Climacura and Culicella lay their eggs singly in captivity.
Several North American species vector encephalitis viruses.
Species of Culiseta are found in all zoogeographic regions, but none occur in South America. The tribe is largely confined to the temperate regions of North America, Europe and Asia.