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

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

© Lisa Poirier  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10647)

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

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Illustration 2

A medium-sized species with dark unbanded tarsi; wing length 4.0-4.7 mm.


Proboscis and palps dark-scaled. Pedicels vary from yellow to black, usually darker medially. Scutum with yellow scales laterally, a broad dark brown median stripe or paired stripes and posterolateral half-stripes. Postprocoxal scale patch present, hypostigmal area bare. Probasisternum bare or, if not, with fewer scales than hexodontus. Lower mesepimeral setae 1-5. Abdominal tergites with white basal bands. Wing scales dark, a few white scales at the base of C in some specimens. The adults are very similar to those of aboriginis and hexodontus.


Head setae 5 and 6-C 1 or 2-branched. 9-20 thorn-shaped comb scales in a straggling row (smaller and usually more numerous than those of hexodontus). Siphon 3 x 1, pecten teeth evenly spaced, 1-S many-branched inserted at about mid length. Saddle surrounding anal segment (saddle incomplete in aboriginis). Papillae long, tapered.

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 is one of the dark-legged aedines that has proved difficult to pin down in the past, and it is possible that a number of Provincial records of punctor may actually refer to hexodontus. Punctor is a snow pool mosquito and one of the earliest to develop in the spring. It is found across the Province, mainly in the mountains and forests where it can be abundant. On one occasion a swarm of male punctor (mixed with other species) formed a dark cloud extending as far as the eye could see over a railway track in Manitoba (Hocking et al. 1950). In Ontario, I frequently observed compact swarms of punctor over contrasting elevated markers (James et al. 1969). Another vicious persistent biter, it is a serious pest of man and animals in wooded areas.

If the breeding sites can be found the larvae can be controlled with little or no environmental damage because the snow melt pools dry up in the summer and harbour few other insects.

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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Ochlerotatus punctor (Kirby)

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: 2024-07-17 10:12:45 PM]
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