Anopheles stephensi is the major vector of human malaria in Middle East and South Asia region, and belongs to the same subgenus as Anopheles gambiae, the main malaria vector in Africa. Anopheles stephensi is widely used in laboratories in Europe and the United States to propagate malaria agent, Plasmodium berghei, a species that only infects rodents.
Three biological forms are found in India, Iran and surrounding regions and they are distinguished on the basis of differences of eggs. The type form, Anopheles stephensi stephensi, was reported to inhabit urban areas and Anopheles stephensi mysorensis rural areas and generally both have been described to be zoophilic, preferring cattle in rural areas and humans in urban areas.
Field release-recapture experiments showed that Anopheles stephensi could fly away a distance from half mile (800 m) to around three miles (5 km).
This mosquito usually rests in different buildings, cattle sheds or underground shelters such as wells.
Favorable breeding sites of A. stephensi are wells, cisterns, empty containers, roofs gutters, hoof prints of animals, rice fields, fountains and many more. Larval breeding is significantly higher during the rainy season.
Adult females and males become sexually mature by the 2nd night of life. Although A.stephensi could live up to 26 days in laboratory conditions, all adults are dead in about 11 days in natural conditions.
Females lay about 100 eggs during one oviposition and maximum nine ovipositions are found to occur.
A. stephensi is a disease vector of rodent malaria (Plasmodium berghei, Plasmodium yoelli), simian malaria (Plasmodium cynomolgi) and human malaria(Plasmodium falciparum).