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Species Page - Culex tarsalis
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scientific name    Culex tarsalis    

Larvae: found in a variety of water types, often with animal waste. Adults: found in many habitats.

April to late fall, becoming much more prevalent in late summer.

Hind tarsomeres with white bands at base and apex ("white-jointed"); proboscis encircled by a distinctive white band; femora and tibiae with longitudinal white stripe or series of dots. Larva: antenna constricted beyond insertion of antennal seta 1-A; head setae 5-C with 4 or more branches, 6-C with three or more branches; siphon with five tufts of seta on each side, all arising along a single lateral line.

life history
Females overwinter in caves, burrows, etc., emerging in mid spring to take a blood meal. Like other members of the genus, tarsalis feeds on birds. However, it may actually prefer a mammalian blood meal. Eggs are laid in a raft of 100-250 on permanent/semipermanent water bodies. Container breeding tends to occur as populations build up over the summer months. Larvae develop relatively quickly, and adults emerge throughout the summer. Culex tarsalis probably multivoltine in Alberta, though the exact number of generations is most likely variable. Females prefer to feed at night, with peak activity occurring 2 hours after sunset.

Fairly common in Alberta and not of conservation concern. Vectors WEE and West Nile Virus.

diet info
Females feed on birds and mammals, possibly preferring mammals. Larvae are detritivores.

Possibly throughout Alberta; common in the prairies, less so in the Aspen Parkland. In North America, found in the Western provinces, south to Mexico, and east to Southern Ontario and Florida. Recorded from the Mackenzie Valley in the North West Territories.

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