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

Mansonia perturbans (Walker)
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 #10642)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Mansonia perturbans in British Columbia
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Species Information

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A medium sized species with striking tarsal bands, and dusty looking wings, wing length 4-5 mm. Larval siphon adapted to pierce plants.


Proboscis dark with a diffuse broad pale band at mid length. Palps short, dark with a few scattered pale scales. Pedicels brown, a few pale scales on darker median surface. Scutum thinly covered with brownish to pale yellow scales and in most specimens, two longitudinal pale lines on the bare cuticle. Abdominal tergites dark-scaled with pale basolateral patches, joining to form continuous basal bands in some specimens. Legs with mixed light and dark scales; hind tibiae with a pale band near the apex. First tarsomeres with a narrow basal band and a broader one at mid length; remaining segments with very broad basal bands. Wing scales very broad, light and dark mixed.


Antennae distinctive, very long and curved, 1-A large and many-branched, a pair of short setae inserted beyond it. Head setae 5 & 6-C 6 or more-branched, 6-C longer than 5-C. 8-15 thorn-shaped comb scales in a single ragged row. Siphon unlike that of our other mosquito larvae, short and conical with a serrated tip bearing a stout curved dorsal seta and no pecten. Anal segment longer than broad, surrounded by saddle.

Glossary of Terms [PDF]

Genus Description

Mansonia was named after Sir Patrick Manson who studied the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of malarial and nematode parasites in the 1870's.

Some authorities have resurrected the sub generic name, Coquillettidia Dyar, 1905, for the part of this genus that includes our species, perturbans. As the name Mansonia perturbans has been used continuously since the 1920's however, I have followed Wood et al. (1979) in retaining Blanchard's name.

Only one species of the genus occurs in Canada. The structure and habits of the larvae and pupae of this mosquito set it apart from all others in the country. The siphon of the larva and respiratory "trumpets" of the pupa are modified so that these stages can attach themselves to the underwater stems and roots of plants (mainly cattails, Typha latifolia, in British Columbia) which provide all their oxygen requirements. Because the immature stages do not surface for air they are difficult to find and, incidentally, difficult to control with pesticides.

This is the only blunt-ended female in the Province that has a pale band at mid length on the first hind tarsomere. The wing scales are unusually broad.

The eggs are laid in clusters on or above the water surface among the "host" plants. The first instar larvae, which obtain all the oxygen they need by diffusion through the body, swim down and pierce the plant with a specially adapted siphon. Moulting and pupation occur while larvae are attached to the plant. The last larval moult is complicated because the siphon is lost and the pupa has to insert its respiratory "trumpets" into the plant. When the pupa is ready to moult it breaks off the drill-like ends of the "trumpets" and rises to the surface where the adult emerges.


Species Information

This species has been found in the Fraser, Okanagan and Kootenay valleys and no doubt will be found elsewhere in the Province. There is one generation a year. The larvae breed in swampy lakeshore with abundant cattails or similar vegetation. They overwinter and can survive extensive periods of freezing (Rademacher 1979). The female is a strong flier and an aggressive biter. Hearle (1926) wrote "No other mosquito that we are acquainted with has such virulent poison. It shows no timidity in attack and is very persistent in entering houses." In 1980 it is still annoying in the evening from late June until September when it enters houses in the Lower Mainland. Fortunately, it does not appear to be present anywhere in the Province in sufficient numbers to become a serious pest. The larval and pupal behaviour make it difficult to control and the adults will have to be kept at bay with screens and repellents.

Status Information

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

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Coquillettidia perturbans (Walker)

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: 2022-06-30 3:12:06 PM]
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