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Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti – the Yellow Fever Mosquito

This smallish, dark mosquito with conspicuous white markings on the scutum and banded legs is the primary vector of the viruses causing human Dengue and Yellow fever. In Asia, this species is also considered the principal vector of Chikungunya and O'nyong-nyong viruses while it is a potential vector of dog heartworm, Murray Valley encephalitis and Ross River viruses in Australia.

Aedes aegypti is most frequently found in the tropics around the globe from 40 degrees North to 40 degrees South latitude. The adults of yellow fever mosquito are killed by temperatures below freezing, their survival is poor below 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees F) or in hot, dry climates.

Females live up to a month, but males die sooner. The eggs of Ae. aegypti can survive for very long periods in a dry state, often for more than a year. It takes 4 to 10 days (depending on water temperature or available food) for larvae to develop into pupae. Cans, jars, rain water containers, old tires provide a larval habitat in urban areas while natural water retaining cavities as tree holes or different plants are used naturally.

Adults are often found within or close by human environments and are abundant in towns and cities. Females prefer human blood over other animals and usually feed in early morning or late afternoon, but night attacks are also possible. Female attacks from below or behind, usually from underneath desks or chairs and mainly at the feet and ankles. The insect is very fast in flight unless gorged with blood, but is reported to fly only around hundred yards from breeding sites.

Yellow fever mosquito is also present in the southeastern United States and was found in Tucson, Arizona.


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