NSW Arbovirus Surveillance & Vector Monitoring Program
Toxorhynchites speciosus
Toxorhynchites speciosus

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Characteristic Features

Male Toxorhynchites Female ToxorhynchitesFemale: Very large mosquito of dark 'shiny-metallic' appearance; proboscis dark scaled (except for possibly a few pale scales dorsally at the base) and distinctly curved down and backwards; scutum with 'metallic' broad flat dark scales medially, paler laterally; wings with 'metallic' dark scales; hind legs with femur pale ventrally on basal half with dark dorsal scaling increasing apically, tibia dark with a few scattered pale scales, tarsal segment 1 with subbasal pale band, segment 2 pale with apical narrow dark band, 3-5 dark with possibly a few scattered pale scales; abdominal tergites dark scaled with large pale lateral patches and terminal segments with lateral tufts of long narrow pale and dark scales, sternites predominantly pale scaled with some medial dark patches. (Click here for a large photograph of the adult), (Click here for other adult and larval images).

Similar Species

Adult females are very distinctive and should not be confused with any other species in southern Australia (although in northern Qld, two other species of Toxorhynchites, Tx. inornatus and Tx. splendens, are very similar), the large size and dark metallic appearance, bent and recurved proboscis, and abdominal lateral scale tufts are diagnostic.

Geographic Distribution

NSW (coast and hinterland north from about Sydney), (also Qld, NT); normally coastal.

Habits & Habitats

Adults are seldom collected as they are not blood-feeders and not attracted to humans; they feed on plant juices and nectar; they are sometimes seen in gardens and occasionally enter houses during warmer months. The larval stages are predacious on other mosquito larvae (click here to see a video of the larvae feeding on another mosquito).

Vector & Pest Status

There is no concern for a pest nuisance as the species does not bite, and thus there is no relation to disease.

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

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