Aedes purpureus (Theobald, 1910), original combination: Molpemyia purpurea.
Subfamily Culicinae, tribe Aedini, genus Aedes. Subgenus Molpemyia includes three species. Subgenus abbreviation – Mol.
The following combinations of features, especially characteristics of the female and male genitalia and the uniquely developed ventral brush and boss of the larvae, distinguish subgenus Molpemyia from other generic-level taxa of tribe Aedini. Characters that diagnose Molpemyia (represented by Ae. pecuniosus) in the phylogenetic analysis of Reinert et al. (2009) are indicated by an asterisk (*).
ADULTS – Vertex and occiput with narrow curved decumbent scales and numerous long erect forked scales; maxillary palpus and proboscis dark-scaled; scutum with complete rows (anterior and posterior groups) of acrostichal and dorsocentral setae; *scutal fossa with contrasting pale scales in large patch; paratergite with broad pale scales; upper proepisternum with 5–12 setae; *upper prealar scales present; *costa with pale spot near base of wing; *anal vein terminates approximately in line with intersection of mediocubital crossvein and cubitus; tibiae of all legs dark-scaled, tarsomeres 1 and 2 of all legs and tarsomere 3 of hindleg with broad basal white band; *abdominal segment VII of females dorsoventrally flattened; abdominal terga II–VII with large basomedian pale patch or band; large unguis of fore- and midlegs of males with 2 teeth, small unguis with 1 tooth, hindungues equal and simple. FEMALE GENITALIA – Sternum VIII large, with subapical line of 4 long setae extending toward midline from apicolateral corners; caudal margin of tergum IX with U-shaped median indentation and 5–8 long setae on either side of midline; caudal margin of upper vaginal lip broadly rounded, upper vaginal sclerite large and heavily pigmented; insula large, lip-like, with cluster of 6–9 long setae on either side of midline; *cercus index 2.94−4.06; postgenital lobe broad basally, narrower distally. MALE GENITALIA – Tergum IX lobes small, each with 4-7 setae; gonocoxite long and narrow, mesal membrane extends to base of gonostylus, lateral and ventral surfaces with numerous setae and broad scales; *gonostylar claw bluntly pointed; basal mesa1 lobe comprised of long narrow laterally curved stem bearing short setae distally and a long distally tapered apical foliform, BML/Gc index 0.37–0.43; aedeagus simple, trough-like, distal half divided and produced laterad, *widest in distal third, teeth absent; paraproct with short curved beak-like apex bearing 2–4 small *teeth; cercal sclerite with 3–7 setae. LARVAE – Antenna short, *ratio of length to median length of dorsal apotome ≤ 0.40; seta 1-A single; setae 5–7-C single; seta 4-C inserted mesad and slightly caudad of seta 6-C; seta 5-C directly caudad of seta 6-C; *ratio of length to median length of dorsal apotome 0.21−0.38; *seta 7-C inserted about same level as seta 6-C, *ratio of length to median length of dorsal apotome ≤ 0.19; seta 13-C single; *seta 4-P longer than seta 3-P; *seta 7-P single; *seta 2-T branched; setae 9,10-T single, stout, strongly aciculate; *seta 1-II single; *ratio of length of seta 1-VII to mid-dorsal length of segment X ≤ 0.42; seta 6-I–VI (*6-II; *6-III) single, long, stout; *seta 8-II single; comb with 5–12 short broad scales in *single row; siphon short, broad at base, index 1.08–1.60, saddle/siphon index 1.08–1.27; pecten comprised of 8–22 slender, evenly spaced spines, *ratio of length of seta 1a-S to width of siphon ≤ 0.40; saddle large, incomplete ventrally; seta 1-X small, with 2–7 branches; setae 2,3-X single, long, stout, *ratio of length of seta 2-X to length of seta 3-X ≥ 0.90; ventral brush (seta 4-X) comprised of 17–22 stout, usually apically split, plumose setae in irregular row along ventral and caudal margins of an exceptionally large, caudally projecting, rudder-like boss. PUPAE – Setae 1–3-CT moderately long, seta 2-CT slightly shorter than setae 1,3-CT; seta 4-CT single, about as long as seta 5-CT; seta 2-II–V (*2-II) inserted mesad and slightly cephalad of seta l, seta 2-VI,VII (*2-VI) inserted laterad of seta 1; *seta 3-II inserted lateral to seta 2-II; *seta 5-V shorter than median length of following tergum; seta 6-VII inserted mesad and caudad of seta 9; seta 9-III–V apparently inserted ventrally; seta 9-VII,VII single, long, stout, spinulate, inserted dorsally near caudolateral margin of segment; paddle with broad *weakly developed midrib terminating well before apex. See Aedes.
The immature stages of subgenus Molpemyia species have been found in cavities in trees, which sometimes contain foul water. Larvae of the three known species of the subgenus are reportedly predaceous on other mosquito larvae. Females are known to bite humans.
Species of subgenus Molpemyia are not known to be of medical or economic importance. Attempts to recover virus from Ae. purpureus produced negative results (cited in Lee et al., 1982).
Species of subgenus Molpemyia are found in Australia, the states of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.