MRCU

Cayman Islands Mosquito Research & Control Unit Website

A Brief Guide to Common Mosquitoes of the Cayman Islands

Although there are in the region of 36 reported species of mosquitoes found in the Cayman Islands some we see more regularly than others. If you have a mosquito problem and want to report it to the department you may be able to help our investigations by taking a short look at this guide.

AedesĀ  taeniorhynchus

The ‘Black Salt-Marsh mosquito.’ This small black mosquito is by far the most abundant pest mosquito in the Cayman Islands. Most of our operational efforts go into the control of this species. This mosquito breeds mainly in the swamps, the female lays her eggs in the mud and when water levels rise they hatch in large numbers. It is a strong flier and can travel long distances, so large numbers emerging on one part of the island can quickly spread. These mosquitoes can be found year round, but numbers peak in the rainy season. They are active around sunrise and sunset.

Psorphora ciliata and Psorophora columbiae

These are the two largest species of mosquito found in the Cayman Islands. They breed mainly in standing water on pasture land. They hatch off in large numbers after the first rains and can be a serious biting nuisance to people and livestock. They are black mosquitoes easily identified by their size.

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Culex nigripalpus

This small brown mosquito will breed almost anywhere, but the most saline parts of the swamp, it can be found in natural pools and ponds as well as crab holes and artificial breeding sites like buckets.

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Culex quinquefasciatus

Another small brown mosquito, however Culex quinquefasciatus or the Southern House Mosquito is more likely to be found in the domestic setting, it favours nutrient rich breeding sites such as compromised septic tanks or sites containing plant material.

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Aedes aegypti

Aedes aegypti

Aedes aegypti or the ‘Yellow Fever Mosquito’ is a very domesticated mosquito. It is found associated with human habitation breeding in water drums, guttering, buckets and discarded trash. It can be controlled by house and business owners by simply clearing up any water holding containers or making sure that water is not allowed to stand for more than a couple of days in e.g. bird baths, pet water bowls, plant pots, etc. it is a distinctive black and white mosquito that bites mostly in the daytime/late afternoon. This mosquito can carry yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya viruses. It is found widespread across Grand Cayman, but help from the public can help to seriously reduce numbers. Clear up trash and other sources of standing water, including buckets, dog bowls, ornamentals, plant pots and tires. Anything that will hold water when it rains will provide the perfect breeding site for this mosquito

Aedes albopictus

Is widely known as the ‘Asian Tiger Mosquito.’ This small black and white mosquito with its distinctive stripe across the thorax is often associated with the domestic setting. It breeds in containers around the house as well as tree holes and natural water containers nearby. Aedes albopictus is a carrier of the deadly dengue and chikungunya viruses. Currently it is found in relatively small numbers in Grand Cayman where it first arrived in 1997.

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Anopheles

There are a number of Anopheles species to be found in the Cayman Islands. They breed mostly in fresh water and are easily identified when biting as they stand ‘end-up’ unlike other mosquitoes that keep their bodies flat. Anopheles stand with their heads down and are often described as needle like in appearance. Of the Anopheles found in the Cayman Islands one species; Anopheles albimanus can carry the malaria parasite. This mosquito can be identified by the ways it stands as well as its distinctive rear white feet. Anopheles like to bite late into the evening.

*Photo credit for Anopheles albimanus by Audio Visual, LSHTM. Wellcome Images. images@wellcome.ac.uk.

*For other photo credits see images.