Toxorhynchites Theobald, 1901. [The subfamily name Toxorhynchitinae is attributed to Lahille (1904) (as Toxorhynchina), not Theobald (1905) (as Toxorhynchitinae). In accordance with the Principle of Coordination (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, 1999: Article 36.1), Lahille (1904) is considered to have simultaneously established the coordinate tribal name Toxorhynchitini.]
Subfamily Culicinae. Tribe Toxorhynchitini includes only one genus, Toxorhynchites, with 90 species. Species of the tribe are referred to as 'toxorhynchitines'.
Adults are large and colourful mosquitoes with the body covered with green, purple or red iridescent scales. The distal half of the proboscis is slender and bent sharply downwards and backwards. The scutellum is evenly rounded (as in Anopheles and Bironella) and the posterior margin of the wing is distinctly emarginate opposite the termination of vein CuA. Larvae have mouth brushes composed of about 10 broad, flat filaments that are used to capture prey, and the dorsal and ventral abdominal setae occur in groups on large sclerotised plates. The comb and pecten are both absent. See Culicinae.
The tribal status of the mosquitoes belonging to genus Toxorhynchites is based on the morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses of Harbach & Kitching (1998) and Mitchell et al. (2002), respectively, which did not support the traditional recognition of a separate subfamily for this taxon. Despite the findings of these investigators, the natural affinities of Toxorhynchites have not been determined. See Toxorhynchites.
Toxorhynchitine larvae are found in plant cavities, mainly tree-holes and bamboo stumps. The larvae of all species are predators. They feed mainly on other mosquito larvae, including their own kind when other species are few or absent. The adults are basically forest mosquitoes. Males and females both feed exclusively on nectar and other sugary substances. The adults are active during the day.
Since toxorhynchitines do not suck blood, they are not of medical importance. The larvae of a few species have been used with some success to control economically important mosquitoes whose larvae inhabit plant cavities and artificial containers.
Toxorhynchitine species are largely tropical, with a few species occurring in the far eastern areas of Asia and North America and three introduced species occurring on Fiji and Samoa in the South Pacific.
Belkin, 1962 (systematics, bionomics, distribution).