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Culiseta alaskaensis – Alaskan snow mosquito

Mosquitoes of the genus Culiseta are quite often called the “snow mosquitoes” because many of the species live in northern territories of taiga or mountain regions and females overwinter in adult stage under the snow.
The snow mosquito Culiseta alaskaensis is the largest mosquito species in Alaska. It is a holarctic species, typical to wooded, subarctic regions with some populations extending into the mountains more to the south where they are placed by the altitudinal associations into the subalpine group of mountain species. In North America Culiseta alaskaensis is found across Canada, Alaska and reaches some of the Rocky Mountain States. It is also known from Northern, Northwestern and Alpine Central Europe as well as from Siberia and the Caucasus Mountains in Asia. Despite the wide distribution, this species of snow mosquito is not common.
The female overwinters as an adult close to the ground under the snow, usually in leaf litter, in dense growths of grass, beneath loose tree bark, or in dead tree stumps where the temperature range is from 16 - 20 F. These mosquitoes emerge in spring even when there is snow on the ground. Females live up to 10 to 12 months or sometimes even longer.
During the summer these large mosquitoes are commonly found near shallow pools of water where they lay their eggs. Peak populations usually occur near the end of May. Females of this snow mosquito take a blood meal and immediately lay their eggs in shallow pools. By the end of summer the eggs hatch and newly hatched females overwinter as adults. So the females mate the first summer and engorge and oviposit the following spring.


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