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Woodland Malaria Mosquito (Anopheles punctipennis)

The Woodland Malaria Mosquito (Anopheles punctipennis) is one of 53 types of mosquitoes that occur in California. This is the most common Anopheles mosquito in the Sierra Nevada foothills and coastal ranges of California. Preferred habitat is wooded areas along seasonal creeks and year-round rivers and streams.

This mosquito is the primary vector of human malaria in the woodland and foothill areas of California. Clear algal-laden shaded pools of creeks and streams and the heavily vegetated margins of slow flowing streams and rivers are the primary breeding sites for this mosquito.

Diseases Transmitted

Woodland Malaria Mosquito is considered an important vector of human malaria in the Central Valley and foothill areas of California.

Life Cycle

Woodland Malaria Mosquitoes have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The immature stages need standing water to complete their life cycle.

After an adult female lays her eggs they hatch into larvae (wrigglers), which feed on small organic particles and microorganisms in the water. Because they are air breathing organisms they must return to the water’s surface to breathe. About one to two weeks are required for larval development. At the end of the larval stage, the mosquito molts and becomes the aquatic pupa (tumbler). The pupa is active only if disturbed, for this is the resting stage where the larval form is transformed into the adult. This takes about two days during which time feeding does not occur. When the transformation is completed, the new adult splits the pupal skin and emerges. Under optimum conditions, development from egg to adult takes about three weeks. However, all mosquito developmental times are dependent on the temperature and nutrients of the water in which they mature.

Adult Daily Activity

Mated females usually overwinter in shelters near their larval breeding sites.

Adult Flight Range

Usually stay close to their breeding site although they have been known to occasionally disperse more than one mile.

Adult Feeding

This species is an aggressive day and dusk biting mosquito with large mammals being their preferred hosts. Woodland Malaria Mosquitoes will readily bite humans when possible.

Eggs and Larvae

Eggs are laid individually on the water’s surface, hatching within a few days. Larvae inhabit shaded grassy pools of creeks and streams.