Culiseta melanura (Coquillett, 1902), original combination: Culex malanurus.
Subfamily Culicinae, genus Culiseta. Subgenus Climacura includes six species. Subgenus abbreviation – Cli.
The following combinations of characters distinguish subgenus Climacura from the other subgenera of Culiseta. ADULTS ‒ Maxillary palpus of females with palpomere 5 small, round or elongate, maxillary palpus of males as long as or longer than proboscis, palpomeres 4 and 5 slender or more or less thickened; antepronotum without scales, with setae only; postpronotum with posterior setae and narrow scales; 1‒7 prespiracular setae; scutellum with narrow scales; wing with or without darker clusters of scales; base of subcosta with reduced number of ventral setae; mediocubital crossvein well before radiomedial crossvein; tarsi entirely dark-scaled or hindtarsi with distinct basal pale bands; abdominal tergum I with setae only; terga II‒VIII usually entirely dark-scaled (Cs. marchettei with basal pale bands on terga V‒VIII). MALE GENITALIA ‒ Ninth tergal lobes with long setae; gonocoxite without apicodorsal lobe; basal mesal lobe rather small, conical, with variously developed setae; gonostylus with single terminal gonostylar claw; aedeagus usually simple and weakly sclerotised (strongly sclerotised laterally with 3 or 4 prominent apical denticles in Cs. marchettei). EGGS. Eggs laid in rafts. LARVAE ‒ Head very large; antenna long, slender, longer than head; seta 1-A large, inserted well beyond mid-length of antenna; setae 2,3-A very long, usually slightly removed from apex of antenna; comb scales in single row; siphon long, index 4.0‒7.5, seta 1-S small, inconspicuous, single or with 2‒5 branches, inserted at extreme base of siphon, setae 1a-S and 2a-S present, seta 1a-S in more or less single mid-posterior row on distal 0.5‒0.75 of siphon; saddle complete; seta 2-X multi-branched; ventral brush (seta 4-X) with or without precratal setae, small if present. PUPAE ‒ Generally not well studied; setae 1,2-Pa usually both present (2-Pa apparently absent in Cs. novaezealandiae). See genus Culiseta.
The immature stages of Culiseta (Climacura) species are usually found in permanent bodies of water, mainly swamps, but may also inhabit semi-permanent pools (larvae of Cs. marchettei have not been found in nature). Females primarily feed on birds, but those of Cs. melanura and Cs. tonnoiri have been captured biting humans, and the former are also known to feed on small mammals and snakes.
West Nile virus has been isolated from Cs. melanura, but it is regarded as an inefficient vector (Turell et al., 2005). This species circulates Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis viruses among birds (White & Faust, 2014). Whataroa virus has been isolated from Cs. tonnoiri in New Zealand (Chamberlain, 1981), and this species is capable of acquiring and transmitting Coxsackie A6 virus (Maguire, 1970).
Species of the subgenus occur in the Australasian, Oriental and Nearctic Regions, specifically Australia (Cs. antipodea, in Queensland and Victoria), New Zealand (Cs. novaezealandiae; Cs. tonnoiri), peninsular Malaysia (Cs. marchettei) and North America (Cs. melanura, in Canada, Mexico and the United States).