Mosquito research

Anopheles gambiae

Anopheles gambiae, mosquito. Many mosquito species are vectors (carriers) of the agents (pathogens, parasites) that cause human diseases. © James Gathany

Principal Investigator

Dr Ralph Harbach

Project summary

  • Focus: The morphological and molecular taxonomy, phylogeny and classification of mosquitoes (Culicidae)

Our mosquito research is focused on the morphological and molecular taxonomy, phylogeny and classification of mosquitoes (Culicidae), a family of more than 3,500 species, with emphasis on mosquitoes of medical importance.

Phylogeny and classification of the mosquito tribe Culicini

We aim to produce a testable phylogeny on which the classification of Culicini can be based.

Culicini is a diverse group, including 796 species classified in four genera:

  • Culex (cosmopolitan, 769 species placed in 26 subgenera)
  • Deinocerites (Neotropical, 18 species)
  • Galindomyia (Neotropical, 1 species)
  • Lutzia (absent from the western Palaearctic and Nearctic regions, 8 species)

Initial results

Results so far support the monophyly of the tribe, however the genus Culex does not appear to be monophyletic because it includes LutziaDeinocerites and Galindomyia. All but three of the 26 subgenera of genus Culex are monophyletic.

We are currently developing a much more comprehensive morphological and molecular study to further explain the relationships.

Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory

The Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory website provides an authoritative resource on the global diversity of the family Culicidae.

The site currently includes individual pages for taxonomic groups (family, subfamilies, all genera, many subgenera and fossil mosquitoes), a comprehensive anatomical glossary, informal classifications and an evolving bibliography.

Each page contains information on the:

  • name-bearing type
  • classification
  • characteristics
  • phylogenetic relationships
  • bionomics and disease relations
  • distribution
  • principal references
  • included taxa

Eventually the site will include individual species pages and an index of all valid and synonymous names. Additional useful features, such as links to molecular sequence data and a gazetteer of type localities and contemporary geographic names, may also be installed. The site's data is shared with the Encyclopaedia of Life.

Visit the Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory.


We are exploring new sources of food, predicting the spread of disease and finding scarce elements

Parasites and vectors

Understanding parasites and the organisms that transmit them to humans and animals

Zoology collections

Our zoology collection has 29 million animal specimens and is rich in voucher, type and historical specimens