Difference Between Culex and Anopheles Mosquito

Main Difference – Culex and Anopheles Mosquito

Mosquitoes are a type of insects with a thin body, six legs, and a pair of scaled wings. They have sucking mouthparts and a pair of big compound eyes that touch each other. They exhibit a blazing fast reproduction. Around 3,500 mosquito species have been identified worldwide, and they are classified into three genera: Culex, Anopheles, and Aedes. Each genus serves as an intermediate host of a particular parasite. Hence, the three genera are vectors of diseases. The transmission of the disease occurs during the blood feeding of mosquitos. The main difference between Culex and Anopheles is that Culex serves as the intermediate host of West Nile virus and filarial nematodes whereas Anopheles serves as the intermediate host of Malaria parasite.

Key Areas Covered

1. Culex
      – Definition, Facts, Role
2. Anopheles
     – Definition, Facts, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Culex and Anopheles
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Culex and Anopheles
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Anopheles, Culex, Filarisis, Intermediate Host, Larva, Malaria, Mosquito, Pupa

Difference Between Culex and Anopheles - Comparison Summary

Culex – Definition, Facts, Role

Culex refers to a disease-causing mosquito that causes filariasis, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, avian malaria, and ST. Louise encephalitis. Generally, Culex mosquitoes are abundant; they are the least dangerous mosquito genus. Human blood is not a preferred meal for Culex. They bite birds than humans. A Culex mosquito is shown in figure 1.

Main Difference - Culex vs Anopheles

Figure 1: Culex

Culex consists of 88 mosquito species. Generally, Culex mosquitoes are brown or gray in color. The body is stout, and they have unspotted wings. The characteristic feature of Culex is the parallel sitting on the surface during blood feeding.

Anopheles – Definition, Facts, Role

Anopheles refers to a mosquito genus that causes malaria in animals. Around 460 Anopheles species can be identified worldwide. It serves as a vector for malaria, Dirofilaria immitis, canine heartworm disease, and O’nyoung’Nyoung fever. An Anopheles mosquito is shown in figure 2.

Difference Between Culex and Anopheles

Figure 2: Anopheles

Anopheles mosquito has black and white scales on the wing. During the blood feeding, Anopheles sticks up their abdomen in the air, making 45 degrees angle with the surface.

Similarities Between Culex and Anopheles

  • Culex and Anopheles are two genera of mosquitoes.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles have a thin body with six legs, a pair of wings, sucking mouthparts, and a pair of compound eyes.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles serve as intermediate hosts for vector-borne diseases.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles are vectors that are involved in the disease transmission.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles transmit the disease during the blood meal.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles are most active at dawn, dusk, and during the night.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles drink blood to supply nutrients such as proteins and iron required by the development of their eggs.
  • The life cycle of both Culex and Anopheles is composed of four stages: eggs, larva, pupa, and adult. Therefore, they undergo complete metamorphosis.
  • Both Culex and Anopheles lay eggs on the surface of the water.

Difference Between Culex and Anopheles

Definition

Culex: Culex refers to a mosquito genus that transmits a variety of parasites.

Anopheles: Anopheles refers to a mosquito genus that causes malaria in animals.

Vector

Culex: Culex serves as the vector for West Nile virus and filarial nematodes.

Anopheles: Anopheles serves as the vector for Plasmodium.

Habitat

Culex: Culex lives in cool environments.

Anopheles: Anopheles lives in warmer environments.

Type of Disease

Culex: Culex bite causes filaria.

Anopheles: Anopheles bite causes Malaria.

Arrangements of Eggs

Culex: The eggs of Culex are laid in clusters on the surface of the water.

Anopheles: The eggs of Anopheles are laid singly in a horizontal pattern on the surface of the water.

Shape of Eggs

Culex: Culex lays cigar-shaped eggs.

Anopheles: Anopheles lays boat-shaped eggs.

Lateral Air Floats

Culex: Culex eggs lack lateral air floats.

Anopheles: Anopheles eggs have lateral air floats, helping them to float.

Type of Water

Culex: Culex lays eggs in dirty water.

Anopheles: Anopheles lays eggs on clean water.

Larva

Culex: The larva of Culex is a bottom feeder.

Anopheles: The larva of Anopheles is a surface feeder.

Respiratory Siphon of Larva

Culex: The respiratory siphon of Culex larva is long, and it forms an angle inside water.

Anopheles: The respiratory siphon of Anopheles is short, and it remains parallel to the water surface.

Head of the Larva

Culex: The head of the Culex larva is round.

Anopheles: The head of the Anopheles larva is broad.

Pupa

Culex: Culex pupa is colorless.

Anopheles: Anopheles pupa is green in color.

Respiratory Trumpets of Pupa

Culex: The respiratory trumpets of Culex pupa are long and narrow.

Anopheles: The respiratory trumpets of Anopheles pupa are short and wide.

Abdomen of Pupa

Culex: The abdomen of Culex pupa is less bent.

Anopheles: The abdomen of Anopheles pupa is more bent.

Adult Legs

Culex: The legs of the adult Culex are stouter.

Anopheles: The legs of Anopheles are delicate.

Wings

Culex: The adult Culex has transparent wings, capable of flying long distances.

Anopheles: The adult Anopheles has dark-spotted wings, incapable of flying long distances.

Palpi

Culex: Culex mosquito has a small palpi near proboscis.

Anopheles: Anopheles mosquito lacks such palpi.

Rest Body

Culex: Culex lies its body parallel to the surface at rest.

Anopheles: Anopheles angles its body 45 degrees to the surface at rest.

Conclusion

Culex and Anopheles are two mosquito genera that serve as intermediate hosts of vector-borne diseases. Culex causes filaria and West Nile virus infection while Anopheles causes malaria. Therefore, the main difference between Culex and Anopheles is the type of diseases caused by them.

Reference:

1. “All Mosquito Netting Info.” Types of Mosquitoes: Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Culex, quinquefasciatus, mosquito, landed, human, finger” (CC0) via Pixnio
2. “Female, anopheles, albimanus, mosquito” (CC0) via Pixnio

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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