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By M. W. Service (auth.)

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Atmospheric air is taken in through a pair of spiracles situated dorsally on the eighth abdominal segment. 24). Mansonia larvae possess a specialised siphon that is more or less conical and pointed at the tip, it is supplied with prehensile hairs and serrated cutting structures (figure 6. I 5) that enable the siphon to be inserted into the roots or stems of aquatic plants. Oxygen for larval respiration is obtained from the plants. In contrast larvae of the Anophelinae do not have siphons (figures 4· I oa and 4.

Adults are large and colourful mosquitoes, being metallic bluish or greenish with orange and red tufts of hairs on some abdominal segments. Adults are easily recognised by the possession of a proboscis that is recurved in both sexes and incapable of piercing the skin to take blood-meals (figure 4· 1 3). Consequently, since neither sex can bite they are of no medical importance. They are day-fliers and feed on natural sugary secretions. Their larvae are large and stout and often dark reddish in colour and, like the Culicinae, have a siphon.

Some, such as Anopheles species, are surface feeders, whereas many others browse over the bottom of habitats. A few mosquitoes are carnivorous and cannibalistic. There are four larval instars, and in tropical countries larval development, that is the time from egg hatching to pupation, can be as short as five to seven days but many species require about 7- I 4 days. In temperate areas the larval period may last several weeks or months, and several species overwinter as larvae. Mosquito larval habitats vary from large and usually permanent collections of water, such as fresh water swamps, marshes, rice fields and borrow pits to smaller collections of temporary water such as small pools, puddles, water-filled car tracks, ditches, drains, gullys, a variety of 'natural container habitats' such as waterfilled rot holes in trees (that is tree holes), rock pools, hoof prints, water-filled bamboo stumps, bromeliads, pitcher plants, leaf axils in banana plants and pineapples and other plants, water-filled split coconut husks and snail shells.

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