Subfamily Culicinae, genus Culiseta. Subgenus Culicella includes 14 species. Subgenus abbreviation – Cuc.
The following combinations of characters distinguish subgenus Culicella from the other subgenera of Culiseta. ADULTS ‒ Maxillary palpus of males as long as or longer than proboscis, dense setae on palpomeres 4 and 5 and distal area of palpomere 3; antepronotum without scales or with very long piliform scales, postpronotum with setae and fine piliform scales; prespiracular setae numerous (few in Australian species); postspiracular setae few (not more than 5) or absent; wing without darker clusters of scales (Cs. ochroptera with indistinct darker cluster at base of vein R4+5); subcostal setae present (few in Australian species), mediocubital crossvein distinctly proximal to radiomedial crossvein, at distance equal or greater (usually) than length of radiomedial crossvein; tarsi with narrow or indistinct apical pale bands that tend to extend onto apex of following tarsomere. MALE GENITALIA ‒ Ninth tergal lobes not produced; gonocoxite without apicodorsal lobe; aedeagus weakly sclerotised, egg-shaped. LARVAE ‒ Head broad; palatal brushes very large; antenna nearly as long to longer than head, seta 1-A well developed, large, inserted well beyond middle of shaft, usually near apex, setae 2,3-A long, removed from apex; comb of segment VIII with numerous scales (60 to more than 100) in patch; siphon long, tapering, index 4.5‒8.0; pecten comprised of small spines near base of siphon (except Cs. fumipennis with several stout more distal spines), seta 1-S inserted at base, row of setae 1a-S and 2a-S absent; seta 3-X branched; ventral brush (seta 4-X) with precratal setae inserted on saddle. PUPAE ‒ Unknown or inadequately studied, subgeneric characters not apparent. See genus Culiseta.
The phylogenetic relationships of Culicella have not been investigated. Maslov (1967, 1989) hypothesised that the subgenus “probably originated in the lower latitudes of Europe”, but this seems highly unlikely in view of the antiquity of Culiseta (Harbach & Greenwalt, 2012). Morphological evidence suggests that Culicella and Climacura may be sister taxa (Maslov, 1967, 1989; Harbach & Greenwalt, 2012).
Species of the subgenus generally overwinter in the egg or larval stage. The immature stages of the majority of species are found in bogs, marshes, ponds, streams, ditches and ground pools. The larvae of several Australian species are found in underground collections of water: crayfish tunnels (Cs. victoriensis) and pits (Cs. drummondi, Cs. sylvanensis and Cs. weindorferi). Little is known about the blood-feeding habits of adult females. They seldom enter dwellings and mainly feed on birds, but some will feed on amphibians, reptiles and mammals, including humans. Culiseta victoriensis is a troublesome biter in Australian forests. Females apparently deposit their eggs individually on damp substrates above water level, similar to species of Aedini.
Culiseta morsitans is a carrier of Ockelbo virus in Sweden (Francy et al., 1989).
Australia and the Holarctic Region. Seven species occur in Australia, six in the Palaearctic Region and two in the Nearctic Region. Culiseta morsitans has a Holarctic distribution.
amurensis Maslov, 1964
atra (Lee, 1944)
drummondi (Dobrotworsky, 1960)
fumipennis (Stephens, 1825)
inconspicua (Lee, 1937)
litorea (Shute, 1928)
minnesotae Barr, 1957
morsitans (Theobald, 1901)
nipponica LaCasse & Yamaguti, 1950
ochroptera (Peus, 1935)
otwayensis (Dobrotworsky, 1960)
sylvanensis (Dobrotworsky, 1960)
victoriensis (Dobrotworsky, 1954)
weindorferi (Edwards, 1926)