Sydney University Department of Medical Entomology Westmead Hospital
Culex australicus

Culex australicus

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Characteristic Features

Female: A medium sized mosquito of brownish appearance; proboscis dark scaled above with pale scaling underneath on basal two-thirds; scutum with golden narrow scales, some paler towards rear; wings dark scaled; hind legs with femur pale scaled ventrally on basal three-quarters or more and some pale scales at tip of tibia, otherwise legs all dark; abdominal tergites dark with pale curved basal bands constricted laterally and not connected to pale lateral patches on anterior 4-6 segments, sternites pale scaled with medial and apical lateral patches of dark scales.


Similar Species

Adult females can be confused with Cx. quinquefasciatus and some cannot be distinguished, but the laterally constricted tergal basal bands and scale patches on the side of the thorax allow separation from other Culex species with dark legs. The related Cx. molestus and Cx. globocoxitus do not have the constricted tergal bands and the former does not have the sternal dark scale patches. Cx. orbostiensis and Cx. cylindricus are superficially similar, but much smaller and do not have similar scale patches on the side of the thorax.


Geographic Distribution

NSW (widespread), Vic (widespread), SA, Tas, (also Qld, NT and WA).


Habits & Habitats

Adults are active from spring through autumn in many areas and throughout the year in some warmer zones; the species normally does not attack humans and appears to feed predominantly on rabbits and birds (interestingly this species is not as well sampled by dry-ice baited traps as by unbaited light traps).


Vector & Pest Status

Not expected to pose any pest concern because of non-human feeding habits, however the species is capable of carrying Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus in the laboratory and MVE (and Kunjin virus has been isolated from Cx. australicus collected in the Murray valley so it may play a role in early seasonal virus activity initiation and amplification amongst other vertebrates; it may well also play an important role as a vector of myxomatosis.

modified from: Russell, R.C. (1996). A colour photo atlas of mosquitoes of
Southeastern Australia
. Medical Entomology, Westmead Hospital.

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