Genus Aedes Meigen, 1818

Type species: 

Aedes cinereus Wiedemann, 1818. [Aedes cinereus is traditionally credited to Meigen (1818) but the heading “Aedes cinereus Hoffmgg,” and the description are both in quotation marks, followed by a statement that clearly shows that Meigen did not know or describe the species. Wiedemann apparently described the species and used a Hoffmansegg manuscript name (Sabrosky, 1999).]


Subfamily Culicinae, tribe Aedini. The traditional Aedes, sensu Wilkerson et al. (2015), is a very large genus with 966 species divided among 80 subgenera (all but seven recognised as genera in the preferred phylogenetic classification of tribe Aedini established by Reinert et al., 2009). Genus abbreviation – Ae.


Aedes are often difficult to distinguish from other aedine genera because of the great diversity of subgenera and species which are defined by various combinations of characters that overlap with other members of the tribe.  The spectrum of polymorphism that occurs in the tribe is also found in the traditional concept of Aedes.

ADULTS ‒ Adults are usually differentiated from those of other aedine genera by the following combination of characters: antepronota usually rather small and widely separated, prespiracular setae absent, postspiracular setae nearly always present, mesopostnotal setae usually absent, base of hindcoxa usually below base of mesomeron, base of subcosta without ventral patch of setae, and apex (tip) of the abdomen of females usually, but not always, more or less pointed.

LARVAE ‒ Larvae are difficult to distinguish from those of Haemagogus in the New World and Heizmannia, Udaya and Zeugnomyia in the Oriental Region. The treatments of these genera should be consulted for features that distinguish them from Aedes. The following combination of characters is usually used to recognise Aedes larvae: metathoracic pleural group of setae well developed, a single pair of seta 1-S inserted near or beyond middle of siphon (species of subgenera Aedes and Rusticoidus have more than one pair of seta 1-S) and pecten apparently always present (represented by one or more spines on each side of the siphon). See Aedini.

Phylogenetic relationships: 

Little can be said about the phylogenetic relationships of Aedes because it is a highly polyphyletic group. In the phylogeny of mosquito genera generated in the study of Harbach & Kithcing (1998), Aedes was recovered in an unresolved assemblage involving Eretmapodites and a clade comprised of Opifex in a basal relationship to Psorophora + Mansoniini. Soghigian et al. (2017) included two or more species for each of 26 subgenera of Aedes (classification of Wilkerson et al., 2015) in their molecular phylogenetic study of Aedini: Acartomyia, Aedes, Aedimorphus, Bothaella, Bruceharrisonius, Catageiomyia, Collessius, Diceromyia, Dobrotworskyius, Downsiomyia, Georgecraigius, Halaedes, Howardina, Hulecoeteomyia, Jarnellius, Lorrainea, Macleaya, Mucidus, Neomelaniconion, Ochlerotatus, Paraedes, Phagomyia, Rhinoskusea, Rusticoidus, Stegomyia and Tanakaius. All but six of these genus-group taxa were recovered as monophyletic. Aedimorphus, Catageiomyia and Neomelaniconion in Clade A (corresponding to genus Aedes of Reinert, 2000) and Collessius, Ochlerotatus and Phagomyia in Clade B (corresponding to genus Ochlerotatus of Reinert, 2000) were not monophyletic. However, the monophyly of Collessius, Neomelaniconion and Phagomyia was violated by species with only a single genetic marker.

Bionomics and disease relations: 

Aedes is the dominant group of mosquitoes from the tropics to the arctic. Some species also occur at high altitudes. The immature stages of Aedes develop exclusively in temporary collections of water, including ground-pools, snow pools, rock holes, tree holes, bamboo, leaf axils, artificial containers, and brackish water swamps and pools. Females of all species lay eggs on surfaces subject to being flooded or inundated by water. Those that oviposit in cavities such as tree holes, leaf axils or domestic containers attach their eggs to the walls of the cavity just above the water. Eggs have a capacity for resisting desiccation for months or a year or more. Mating of all species probably takes place in the immediate vicinity of the larval habitats. Females of many species readily attack humans, some during the daylight hours and others at night.

Aedes includes species that transmit yellow fever, dengue and other arboviruses. A few species also transmit the helminths that cause Brugian and Bancroftian filariasis. Stegomyia is the most important subgenus of Aedes from a medical point of view. It includes Aedes aegypti, the classical vector of urban yellow fever and dengue fever viruses. Aedes aegypti is widely distributed through the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Other important vectors include Ae. africanus and Ae. bromeliae, which transmit yellow fever virus in Africa, and Ae. albopictus, an important vector of dengue fever virus in the Oriental Region. The latter species has been introduced into the USA and countries Central and South America, Europe and Africa. Other important vectors of dengue fever virus include Ae. scutellaris, Ae. pseudoscutellaris and Ae. polynesiensis in the Pacific Islands.  The latter two species also transmit the helminths which cause Bancroftian filariasis.

Aedes vexans of subgenus Aedimorphus has an extensive distribution in tropical Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and temperate regions of the Nearctic and Palaearctic Regions. The adults are annoying and persistent biters which can be involved in the transmission of arboviruses. A few species of subgenus Finlaya, including Ae. poicilius, Ae. togoi, Ae. kochi, Ae. niveus and Ae. harinasutai, are important vectors of arboviruses and microfilariae in the Oriental Region. Two species of subgenus Diceromyia, Ae. taylori and Ae. furcifer, are implicated in the transmission of yellow fever virus and the spread of Chikungunya virus in Africa.  A few medically important species belong to subgenus Ochlerotatus. Aedes vigilax transmits the agents of Bancroftian filariasis in New Caledonia and several viruses (e.g. Ross River virus) in Australia. Aedes sierrensis and Ae. atlanticus are important vectors of dog heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) in North America. A few other species transmit various arboviruses, mainly those that cause encephalitis. Aedes triseriatus, subgenus uncertain, is an important vector of the California group of encephalitis viruses. See Table 1 of Wilkerson et al. (2015) for a detailed list of medically important species.


Aedes has a world-wide distribution, but is not so well represented in the Neotropical Region. Most of the subgenera occur in the Oriental and Australasian Regions.

Principal references: 

Barraud, 1934 (southern Asia); Lane, 1953 (Neotropical Region); Muspratt, 1956 (subgenus Stegomyia, South Africa); Belkin, 1962 (taxonomy, South Pacific); Dobrotworsky, 1965 (Australia, taxonomy, bionomics, distributions); DuBose & Curtin, 1965 (keys, Mediterranean area); Forattini, 1965 (Neotropical Region); Cova-Garcia et al., 1966 (Venezuela); Belkin, 1968 (New Zealand); Berlin, 1969 (subgenus Howardina); Belkin et al., 1970 (Jamaica); Reinert, 1970a, 1970b, 1972, 1973a, 1973b, 1974, 1976a, 1976b, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1999, 2000a, 2000b, 2003 (various subgenera, Oriental and Australasian Regions); Schick, 1970 (former Ae. terrens group in Neotropical Region, see Zavortink, 1972); Tyson, 1970 (subgenus Mucidus); McIntosh, 1971 (subgenus Neomelaniconion, southern Africa); Huang, 1972 (Ae. scutellaris group, Southeast Asia); Zavortink, 1972 (various subgenera, New World); Gutsevich et al., 1974 (former USSR);  McIntosh, 1975 (subgenus Aedimorphus, southern Africa); Arnell, 1976 (Ae. scapularis group, subgenus Ochlerotatus, New World); Abercrombie, 1977 (subgenus Christophersiomyia); Huang, 1977, 1979 (subgenus Stegomyia, Oriental Region); Tanaka et al., 1979 (Japan); Wood et al., 1979 (Canada); Darsie & Ward, 1981, 2005 (keys, North America); Lee et al., 1982, 1984, 1987 (Australasian Region); Lu & Li, 1982 (China); Clark-Gil & Darsie, 1983 (Guatemala); Darsie, 1985 (keys, Argentina); Darsie & Pradhan, 1990 (Nepal); Huang, 1990 (Ae. africanus group, subgenus Stegomyia, Afrotropical Region); Rattanarithikul & Panthusiri, 1994 (keys, medically important species, Thailand); Jupp, 1996 (southern Africa, taxonomy); Reinert, 2000, 2002 (female genitalia); Huang, 2004 (subgenus Stegomyia, Afrotropical Region); Huang et al., 2010 (subgenus Coetzeemyia; delineation, phylogenetic relationships); Huang et al., 2012 (subgenus Levua; taxonomy, morphology); Wilkerson et al., 2015 (phylogeny, classification); Huang & Rueda, 2015 (subgenus Pseudalbuginosus, taxonomy, morphology, affinities); Mohamed et al., 2017 (Republic of the Sudan, bionomics, keys ‒ adults, larvae); Brunhes et al., 2017 (subgenus Paulianius [as genus], taxonomy, bionomics, keys); Soghigian et al., 2017 (phylogenetic relationships).

Species - Subgenus uncertain: 

alticola Bonne-Wepster, 1948
auronitens Edwards, 1922
australiensis (Theobald, 1910)
biocellatus (Taylor, 1914)
britteni Marks & Hodgkin, 1958
candidoscutellum Marks, 1947
crossi Lien, 1967
daliensis (Taylor, 1916)
eatoni (Edwards, 1916)
gracilelineatus Bonne-Wepster, 1937
keefei King & Hoogstraal, 1946
koreicoides Sasa, Kano & Hayashi, 1950
lauriei (Carter, 1920)
mallochi Taylor, 1944
monocellatus Marks, 1948
oreophilus (Edwards, 1916)
peipingensis Feng, 1938
plagosus Marks, 1959
quasirubithorax (Theobald, 1910)
roai Belkin, 1962
rubiginosus Belkin, 1962
sintoni (Barraud, 1924)
stanleyi Peters, 1963
subauridorsum Marks, 1948
toxopeusi Bonne-Wepster, 1948
tsiliensis King & Hoogstraal, 1946
versicolor (Barraud, 1924)
wasselli Marks, 1947

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith