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Volume 27, Number 8—August 2021
Etymologia

Etymologia: Culex quinquefasciatus

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Sarah Anne J. GuagliardoComments to Author  and Rebecca S. Levine
Author affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Culex quinquefasciatus [′kyo͞o leks ′kwinkwə fa she ′ah tus]

Figure

Female Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito. Image credit: CDC Public Health Image Library, 1976.)

Figure. Female Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito. Image credit: CDC Public Health Image Library, 1976.)

In 1823, the American entomologist Thomas Say described Culex (Latin for “gnat”) quinquefasciatus, which he collected along the Mississippi River. Originally written as “C. 5-fasciatus,” the name refers to 5 (“quinque”) black, broad, transverse bands (“fasciatus” or “fasciae”) on the mosquito’s dorsal abdomen (Figure). The name remains despite later revelations of more than 5 fasciae, thanks to improved microscopy. Although quinquefasciatus is the official scientific name, there are at least 5 synonymous names for this species.

Say described this species as “exceedingly numerous and troublesome.” “Quinx” are among the world’s most abundant peridomestic mosquitoes, earning the nickname “southern house mosquito.” Cx. quinquefasciatus is found throughout subtropical and tropical areas worldwide, except for exceedingly dry or cold regions. This mosquito is a principal vector of many pathogens, transmitting the phlebovirus Rift Valley fever virus and the 2 flaviviruses St. Louis encephalitis virus and West Nile virus, in addition to filarial worms and avian malarial parasites.

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References

  1. Belkin  J. Quinquefasciatus or Fatigans for the tropical (Southern) house mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae). Proc Entomol Soc Wash. 1977;79:4552.
  2. Farajollahi  A, Fonseca  DM, Kramer  LD, Marm Kilpatrick  A. “Bird biting” mosquitoes and human disease: a review of the role of Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes in epidemiology. Infect Genet Evol. 2011;11:157785. DOIPubMed
  3. Harrison  BA, Byrd  BD, Sither  CB, Whitt  PB. The Mosquitoes of the Mid-Atlantic Region: An Identification Guide. Cullowhee (NC): Western Carolina University; 2016.
  4. Say  T. Descriptions of dipterous insects of the United States. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences. 1823;3:954.
  5. University of Florida, Department of Entomology and Nematology. Featured creatures. [cited 2021 Mar 3]. https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/southern_house_mosquito.htm

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2708.et2708

Original Publication Date: July 01, 2021

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Table of Contents – Volume 27, Number 8—August 2021

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Sarah Anne J. Guagliardo, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30327-4027, USA

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Page created: July 01, 2021
Page updated: July 18, 2021
Page reviewed: July 18, 2021
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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