Elephant Mosquito Toxorhynchites rutilus (Coquillett, 1896)  

Status:

Our largest mosquito. This species is highly predatory as a larva and doesn't need to take a blood meal as an adult to produce eggs. Found in the eastern U.S.

Description:

Thorax is black with a narrow golden stripe down the center and gold fringing the outside edge of the black stripes. Palps are long, thick, and straight in females and very long, and upturned in males, giving the species it's common name of Elephant Mosquito. The proboscis is strongly decurved, a characteristic of members of its genus. (J. Emm, pers. comm.)

Relationships:

As adults, both males and female feed on nectar. Larvae feed on aquatic insects, including other mosquitoes.

There are 14 records in the project database.

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A pair of Elephant Mosquitoes, female at left and male at right, in Harford Co., Maryland (6/29/2018). This is a great example of sexual dimorphism in mosquitoes. The male (hind right) has larger, fluffier antennae; longer, thinner, upturned palpi; and each foot is completely black, except the next to last tarsal segment of the hindlimbs which are white. The female (front left) has thinner antennae; thick blue and white palpi which are straight; and each limb is tipped in broad white "boots". Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A pair of Elephant Mosquitoes in Harford Co., Maryland (6/29/2018). The male at the left has large feathery antennae and long, thin upturned palpi. The female at right has thin antennae and thick blue and white palpi. Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A pair of Elephant Mosquitoes, female at left and male at right, in Harford Co., Maryland (6/29/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (7/12/2015). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

A female Elephant Mosquito in Baltimore Co., Maryland (8/26/2019). Determined by John F. Carr/BugGuide. Photo by Pauline Horn. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito in Prince George's Co., Maryland (6/27/2018). Photo by Barbara Thurlow. (MBP list)

Elephant Mosquito in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/15/2013). Photo by Catherine Stragar. (MBP list)

Elephant Mosquito in Baltimore City, Maryland (5/29/2009). Verified by Sean McCann/BugGuide. Photo by Thomas Wilson. (MBP list)

A male Elephant Mosquito in Montgomery Co., Maryland (9/23/2014). Verified by John F. Carr/BugGuide. Photo by Jesse Christopherson. (MBP list)

A female Elephant Mosquito in Baltimore City, Maryland (9/10/2008). Determined by Omar Fahmy/BugGuide. Photo by Thomas Wilson. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito larva collected in Baltimore Co., Maryland (6/27/2018). This species is known to eat other mosquito larvae, even others of its own species. This individual was collected from an old automobile tire. Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito larva collected in Baltimore Co., Maryland (6/27/2018). The huge size, highly segmented appearance, and red color set this species apart from other mosquito larvae. Its natural habitat is tree holes that collect and hold water where it feeds on other invertebrates, especially other mosquito larvae. In the absence of natural tree holes, this species is commonly found in old used automobile tires. Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito larva collected in Baltimore Co., Maryland (6/27/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito larva collected from inside a used tire in Harford Co., Maryland (7/4/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

An Elephant Mosquito pupa collected from inside a tire in Harford Co., Maryland (6/29/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A newly emerged female Elephant Mosquito in Harford Co., Maryland (6/29/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)


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