5 Types of Mosquitoes in Arkansas (With Pictures)
Mosquitoes are far more than a nuisance in the state of Arkansas. These icky insects also carry a multitude of diseases, with some of them being very deadly.
There are around 3,500 species of mosquitoes¹ in the world, and approximately 55 of those live in Arkansas. However, the vast majority of those mosquitoes pose little to no threat to people and pets. There are some mosquitoes that you should be concerned about, though.
The 5 Types of Mosquitoes in Arkansas
1. Culex quinquefasciatus
|Characteristics:||Medium size, brown color|
|Diseases Carried:||West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis|
The Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is also known as the Southern house mosquito, and it’s common across the Southern United States and the entire state of Florida. They have been found as far North as Indiana.
They are most active in the nighttime, and they are opportunistic blood feeders that are known to spread multiple diseases that are dangerous to humans, including being the primary vector of St. Louis encephalitis. They are also known to spread West Nile virus. They are well known to be able to crossbreed with other Culex species, leading to hybridization.
2. Aedes aegypti
|Characteristics:||Red or reddish-brown bodies with white spots|
|Diseases Carried:||Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, Mayaro|
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a dangerous mosquito that carries multiple diseases, including West Nile virus, yellow fever, zika virus, and dengue. They are more likely to spread these diseases than the Aedes albopictus species of mosquito, which also lives in Arkansas.
They are notable due to their reddish-brown bodies with white spots. These mosquitoes are often found in urban and suburban areas, and their proximity to humans does mean they are extremely likely to spread diseases.
3. Aedes albopictus
|Characteristics:||Tan or brown with white stripes and spots|
|Diseases Carried:||West Nile Virus, Dengue, Yellow Fever, Zika Virus|
Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito, is related to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and both mosquitoes carry most of the same diseases. The Aedes aegypti is more dangerous and deadly, but that doesn’t mean the Aedes albopictus mosquito isn’t a threat to humans.
They are not native to the United States but have become endemic and are capable of living in a larger temperature and climate range than their cousins, which means they are more widespread.
These mosquitoes do feed on animals and people, but since they are not always located in close proximity to humans, they are less likely to spread human diseases but can pose a threat to animals.
4. Aedes triseriatus
|Characteristics:||Nests in holes in trees; dark legs with silver or white markings on the body|
|Diseases Carried:||La Crosse Encephalitis|
The Aedes triseriatus mosquito is less dangerous than its Aedes cousins, and it carries fewer diseases. Its primary threat is spreading La Crosse encephalitis.
These mosquitoes are sometimes called Eastern Tree Hole mosquitoes for their tendency to lay their eggs in standing water inside of holes in trees. The eggs tend to overwinter in dry tree holes that will become flooded in the spring, allowing the eggs to hatch.
These mosquitoes tend to stay in areas with lots of trees, including urban areas, but they will avoid spending time in open spaces with minimal cover.
5. Anopheles quadrimaculatus
|Characteristics:||Dark body with long legs|
The Anopheles quadrimaculatus mosquito is one of around 40 Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria, which is an extremely dangerous disease that causes hundreds of millions of deaths annually across the world.
Malaria is an uncommon disease in the US, with only around 2,000 of the world’s cases being diagnosed in the US. A large portion of the people diagnosed in the US were infected outside of the US.
This type of mosquito is less common than the others, and they don’t occur in Arkansas with the same frequency as the previous four.
How Dangerous are Mosquitoes?
While mosquitoes are very annoying, most of us are aware that they are somewhat dangerous due to their ability to spread disease. However, most people are unaware of just how deadly mosquitoes truly are, with malaria alone killing 2–3 million people annually¹.
While malaria is uncommon in the US, it’s important to understand that other mosquito-borne illnesses do occur with relative frequency. Mosquitoes are also responsible for spreading heartworms, which are parasites that target the hearts of animals (usually domestic dogs) leading to heart failure and death.
Mosquitoes are gross insects that are very common in the state of Arkansas, especially during the warmer months. It’s important to make sure you wear bug spray whenever you’re outdoors for more than a few minutes in the spring, summer, and early fall in Arkansas. Make sure to keep standing water away from your house, yard, and pets to reduce mosquito reproduction. Small backyard ponds can be treated with mosquito deterrents or stocked with fish, like koi, that will eat mosquito larvae.
See also: what is the state insect of Arkansas? How was it decided?
Featured Image Credit: xpixel, Shutterstock