Trichoprosopon digitatum (Rondani, 1848)




Etymology: not stated [finger (L)]

Trichoprosopon digitatum is extremely common in forest and forest edge habitats of South and Central America. It is one of thirteen described species in the Neotropical genus, and has two valid subspecies: Tr. digitatum digitatum (Rondani) and Tr. digitatum townsendi Stone. Intersex exemplars (gynandromorphs) of Tr. digitatum have been reported.

Type locality: Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, Brazil

Type depository: Location unknown

DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERS  (Click photos to view; mouse over and click large photo to zoom in.)

ADULT (illustrated): Head: Clypeus with dense patches of setae laterally. Thorax: Mesepimeral (Mm) integument paler than rest of pleuron; upper calypter with setae. Legs: Ta-III1 with small basal scale patch. 

LARVA (not illustrated): Thorax: Seta 0-P 1,2 branched; seta 7-P 1,2 branched. Abdominal segments: Seta 6-VI long; seta 12-II single, borne on sclerotized tubercle.



Lane & Cerqueira 1942




adult mosquito key icon

WRBU – Trichoprosopon – Neotropical Region – Adult

larval key icon

WRBU – Trichoprosopon – Neotropical Region – Larva

Exemplar DNA sequences

Tr. digitatum  COI: MF172406–MF172408, KF671032–33




Females lay between 60–80 eggs in a loose raft during daylight hours (05:00–18:00). Interestingly, females remain with the egg raft, standing over it and guiding it under their bodies with their legs for up to 24 hours, guarding the eggs until they hatch. Presumably this prevents the eggs being washed away from the small container habitats favored by this species. Eggs of Tr. digitatum have been collected in "ovipots" placed at ground level, 5m, 8m, 25m and 34m up into the canopy. Females prefer to lay eggs in sites where other eggs already are—larvae can exhibit stage-specific cannibalism, preying only on younger conspecifics.

Oviposition sites can be natural or artificial containers, such as young floral bracts of Heliconia aurea, fallen fruit husks, internodes in water collected in dead bamboo, bamboo stumps, fallen palm bracts, tree holes in standing and fallen trees, and discarded water receptacles at ground level. Cacao husks support high densities of Tr. digitatum and larvae have been noted to rasp the fruit endocarp with their mandibles. Although in Heliconius, larvae have been observed to “crawl” from one bract to another to evade predation.


Trichoprosopon digitatum are unique within the sabethine mosquitoes in that they feed at night (not during the day), and even appear to be more active in darker phases of the moon. Adult Tr. digitatum are common in domestic/peridomestic environs and readily collected in Shannon traps, especially when baited with light or gas lanterns. Adults and eggs can be collected at all levels of the canopy, including on the ground, and the adults are commonly found resting both in vegetation and within human habitations. While their preferred host is man, Tr. digitatum feed on all available mammals and birds.



Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela.

Distribution map for <em>Trichoprosopon digitatum</em> (Rondani, 1848)



None; View other WRBU Vector Hazard Reports

Available GIS Models:

Tr_digitatum_Dornak_1 South & Central America


IMPORTANT REFERENCES (full citations below)

Rondani 1848: 109 (F; Culex)

Howard et al. 1913(1912) (M*, L*; taxonomy, bionomics)

Senevet & Abonnenc 1939b: 250 (M*, L*)

Lane & Cerqueira 1942: 494 (M*, F, P*, L*; keys, bionomics)

Belkin 1952: 122 (P*, L*)

Lane 1953: 820 (M*, F, P*, L*)

Belkin et al. 1971: 8 (type locality information)

Mattingly 1971a: Pl. 1 (A scutum*)

Pl. 24 (L head*, terminal segments*)

Zavortink 1981 (taxonomy)

Zavortink et al. 1983 (M*, F*, P*, L*; taxonomy, bionomics)

Linley et al. 1990 (E*)

Linton et al. 2013 (bionomics, molecular taxonomy, distribution; Ecuador)

Berti et al. 2015 (distribution; Venezuela)



syn. nivipes Theobald

1901c: 285 (M*, F*). Type locality: Aqua Santa, Trinidad [Trinidad & Tobago] (NHMUK). References: Belkin 1968b: 36 (taxonomy, lectotype designation).

syn. splendens Lutz

1904: 68 (A). In: Bourroul 1904. Type locality: Manaus, [Amazonas], Brazil (NE). References: Lane & Cerqueira 1942: 494 (syn.); Belkin et al. 1971: 8 (type information).

syn. wilsoni Ludlow

1918: 66 (M, F). Type locality: Chagres Camp, Las Cascades, Canal Zone, Panama (USNM). References: Stone 1944: 335 (tax.); Stone & Knight 1957b: 119 (type information).

syn. subsplendens Martini

1931a: 200 (A; Joblotia splendens var.). Type locality: Pto Bermudas, Pichis, Peru (SMT). References: Lane & Cerqueira 1942: 494 (syn.); Belkin 1971a: 31 (type information).

ssp. townsendi Stone

1944: 337 (M; as var.). Type locality: Boa Vista [previously in Fordlandia, currently Belterra], Rio Tapajos, Para, Brazil (USNM). Distribution: Brazil, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago. References: Belkin et al. 1971: 8 (type information); Harbach & Howard 2007: 44 (to subspecies). Etymology: C.H.T. Townsend. 



Belkin, J.N. (1952). The homology of the chaetotaxy of immature mosquitoes and a revised nomenclature for the chaetotaxy of the pupa (Diptera, Culicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 54(3), 115–130.

Belkin, J.N. (1971a). Mosquito types in East Germany. Mosquito Systematics Newsletter, 3(2), 31.

Belkin, J.N., Schick, R.X., & Heinemann, S.J. (1971). Mosquito studies (Diptera, Culicidae). XXV. Mosquitoes originally described from Brazil. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 7(5), 1–64.

Berti, J., Guzmán, H., Estrada, Y., & Ramírez, R. (2015). New records of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) from Bolívar State in South Eastern Venezuela, with 27 new species for the state and 5 of them new in the country. Frontiers in Public Health, 2, 10.

Harbach, R.E., & Howard, T. M. (2007). Corrections in the status and rank of names used to denote varietal forms of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Zootaxa, 1542, 35–48.

Howard, L.O., Dyar, H.G., & Knab, F. (1913). The mosquitoes of North and Central America and the West Indies. (Vol. II) (1912). Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Lane, J. (1953). Neotropical Culicidae (Vols. I, II). São Paulo: University of São Paulo.

Lane, J., & Cerqueira, N.L. (1942). Os sabetineos da America (Diptera, Culicidae). Arquivos de Zoologia, São Paulo, 3, 473–849.

Linley, J.R., Lounibos, L.P., & Linley, P.A. (1990). Fine structure of the egg of Trichoprosopon digitatum (Diptera: Culicidae) and its relationship to egg raft formation. Journal of Medical Entomology, 27(4), 578–585.

Linton, Y.-M., Pecor, J.E., Porter, C.H., Mitchell, L.B., Garzon-Moreno, A., Foley, D H., . . . Wilkerson, R.C. (2013). Mosquitoes of eastern Amazonian Ecuador: biodiversity, bionomics and barcodes. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 108 (Supplement 1), 100–109.

Ludlow, C.S. (1918). Trichoprosopon Theobald (Diptera; Culicidae). Psyche, 25, 66.

Lutz, A. (1904). Quadro dos generos da familia Culicidae (2 page folded table). In: C. Bourroul. Mosquitos do Brasil, PhD Thesis, JB de Oliveira Costa, Salvador, Bahia. 

Martini, E. (1931a). Ueber einige sudamerikanische Culiciden. Revista de Entomología, 1, 199–219.

Mattingly, P.F. (1971a). Contributions to the mosquito fauna of Southeast Asia. XII. Illustrated keys to the genera of mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae). Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 7(4), 1–84.

Rondani, C. (1848). Esme di varie specie d’Äôinsetti ditteri brasiliani. Studi entomologici (Turino), 1, 63–112.

Senevet, G., & Abonnenc, E. (1939b). Les moustiques de la Guyane Franҫaise. III. Les sabethines. Archives de l'Institut Pasteur d'Algérie, 17, 247–281.

Stone, A. (1944). Notes on the genus Trichoprosopon (Diptera, Culicidae). Revista de Entomología, 15, 335–341.

Stone, A., & Knight, K.L. (1957b). Type specimens of mosquitoes in the United States National Museum, V: The Sabethini (Diptera, Culicidae). Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 47(4), 117–126.

Theobald, F.V. (1901c). A monograph of the Culicidae or mosquitoes (Vol. 2). London: British Museum (Natural History). with Atlas of 37 colored pls. + 5 pls. of photographs.

Zavortink, T.J. (1981). Species complexes in the genus Trichoprosopon. Mosquito Systematics, 13(1), 82–85. 

Zavortink, T.J., Roberts, D.R., & Hoch, A.L. (1983). Trichoprosopon digitatum - morphology, biology, and potential medical importance. Mosquito Systematics, 15(2), 141–149.



Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (Year). Trichoprosopon digitatum species page. Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit Website,, accessed on [date (e.g. 03 February 2020) when you last viewed the site].