E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Aedes cinereus Meigen
Family: Culicidae
Species account author: Peter Belton.
Extracted from The Mosquitoes of British Columbia (1983)
Photo of species

© Sean McCann  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9075)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Aedes cinereus in British Columbia
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Species Information

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Illustration 3

A small to very small, dark mosquito with unbanded tarsi; wing length 3.2-3.8 mm. Abdomen with lateral silvery white stripes. In British Columbia, males of this species are unique in having short palps resembling those of the females.


Proboscis and palps dark-scaled. Pedicels brown, median surface darker. Behind the eyes are two distinctive patches of dark appressed scales. Scutum covered with reddish brown scales. No hypostigmal or postprocoxal scale patch or lower mesepimeral setae. Abdominal tergites dark medially in all specimens examined from the Lower Mainland; some specimens from the interior have distinct pale basal bands. From the side (in all specimens) there is a crisp silvery lateral stripe running the length of the abdomen. Stemites covered with silvery white scales. Legs and wing scales dark.


Head setae 5-C 5 to 9-branched and 6-C 4 to 8-branched, in line with 7-C at the base of the antenna. Comb with 9-16 thorn-shaped scales in a ragged row. Siphon 4 x 1, pecten reaching beyond mid length, 2 or 3 teeth widely spaced. 1-S small, inserted beyond pecten. Saddle reaching 2/3 to ¾ around anal segment. 1-X 2-branched, shorter than saddle.

Glossary of Terms [PDF]

Genus Description

Aëdes is the Greek word for disagreeable. Without the dieresis the word means house or building. Although Meigen did not use a dieresis, he translated it as troublesome. Some authorities, therefore, write the generic name Aëdes. Most species of British Columbian mosquitoes belong to this genus. The females all have short palps, usually less than one quarter of the length of the proboscis, and in both sexes the posterior margin of the scutellum is tri-lobed with the setae in three tufts.

Aedes is a large and variable genus and in the field the most reliable character to separate females from other mosquito genera is the pointed abdomen. Males can be identified in the field by their large and separated gonocoxites but if these are not obvious the thorax can be examined for the presence of postspiracular setae which are absent in the males of Culex, Culiseta, and Mansonia. A slide of the terminalia, as well as confirming the genus, can be used to determine the species. (See Wood et at. 1979).

When at the water surface, the larvae of all culicines hang downwards from the hydrophobic tip of the siphon and are thus easily distinguished from anophelines.

Aedes larvae can be distinguished from those of Culex and Culiseta by the position of the siphon seta (1-S). It is never at the base of the siphon in aedines and can be seen with a hand lens if the larva cooperates.

The pupae are hard to identify. It is usually simpler to let them emerge.

Nearly all aedine adults in British Columbia die in late summer or autumn. The eggs are laid singly or in clusters, usually in crevices at the margins of suitable breeding sites. They do not float. Most aedines overwinter as eggs.


Species Information

This species has been recorded from every part of the Province. It is found in or close to woodland and has a somewhat restricted flight range. It hatches equally well in open or shaded flood water, rain pools or swamps. Its biting habits are varied and it may be present but harmless or at other times, may attack persistently. Near Burnaby Lake, open grassy pools were thick with larvae in April and May. In late May and early June males swarmed, just after sunset, over patches of horsetails and females bit only when disturbed. Specimens I collected in the dry interior, however, bit persistently in bright sunlight. Although it may be locally common it is not generally abundant and cannot be considered a major pest.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5No StatusNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Notes

This species is known to carry West Nile Virus, but its vector competence is unknown. Source: Belton, Peter. 2007. British Columbia mosquitoes as vectors of West Nile virus. Peter Belton web site. Simon Fraser University.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2022-06-26 12:27:52 PM]
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