Anopheles balabacensis Baisas, 1936




Etymology: Balabac Island, Philippines

Anopheles balabacensis is a highly ornate species, with alternately pale and dark scales on its palps, legs and wings and white scale patches on the abdomen. Formerly regarded as a member of the Dirus Complex, the latest taxonomic revision of the Leucosphyrus Group now places An. balabacensis in the Leucosphyrus Complex along with An. baisasi Colless, An. introlatus Colless, An. latens Sallum & Peyton and An. leucosphyrus Dönitz—all of which, except An. introlatus, are highly effective vectors of human malaria. Previous literature reports document the species from Pakistan and India across mainland Southeast Asia as far north as Taiwan, and south to the islands the Philippines, Borneo, and Indonesia. However, these records were largely erroneous, belonging instead to several newly defined taxa in the Dirus and Leucosphrus Complexes. The current verified distribution of An. balabacensis is limited to forested areas of the southern Philippine islands of Balabac, Culion and Palawan, Borneo (including Brunei, south and east Kalimantan, and eastern Sarawak and Sabah), and the Indonesian islands of Java, Lombok, Sumba and Sumbawa.

Type locality: Balabac, Balabac Island, Philippines

Type depository: U.S. National Museum, Washington, D.C., United States (USNM)

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

ADULT (illustrated): Head (dorsal): Proboscis as long as or slightly longer than Fe-I; apical pale band on MPlp5 distinctly white or whitish, not strongly contrasting with pale bands on MPlp2 and MPlp3. Wings: With ≥4 dark spots in the costal area; veins M and M3+4 noticeably wavy; pale scales of wing, cream-colored to golden to yellowish; accessory sector pale spot usually on veins C, Sc and R; split of vein R2+3 basal to split of vein M1+2. Legs: Apex of Ti-III and base of Ta-III1 with large white band; Ta-III4 with small to indistinct basal pale band; Ta-III5 without basal pale band. 

LARVA (not illustrated): Head: Seta 1-A small, usually single; seta 2-C widely separated; setae 3,4-C short; seta 3-C single, extending to or only slightly beyond anterior margin of head; seta 4-C usually reaching base of seta 2-C; seta 5-C conspicuously longer than antenna; setae 5–7-C long and branched. Thorax: Seta 1-M basal sclerotized tubercle not produced into distinct tooth; seta 1-P basal sclerotized tubercle with prominent tooth or spine. Abdominal segments: Seta 1-II moderately developed palmate but distinctly smaller than 1-III; seta 2-IV,V 3,4 branched.



Nguyen Thuong Hien 1968

Reid 1968



adult mosquito key icon

WRBU – Anopheles - Neomyzomyia Series - Indomalayan Region - Adult

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WRBU – Anopheles - Neomyzomyia Series - Indomalayan Region - Larva

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WRBU – Anopheles - Neomyzomyia Series - Oriental Region - Adult

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WRBU – Anopheles - Neomyzomyia Series - Oriental Region - Larva

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WRBU - Genera - Global - Adult

 larval key icon

WRBU - Genera - Global - Larva

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WRBU - Anopheles Subgenera and Series - Indomalaya - Adult

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WRBU - Anopheles Subgenera and Series - Indomalaya - Larva

Exemplar DNA sequences

An. balabacensis  COI: MH032606–676; ITS2: KY883194-201




Really unusually for Anopheles mosquitoes, the eggs of An. balabacensis can tolerate dessication. Maintained in humid conditions, eggs collected from drying mud in breeding pools in Sabah were still viable up to 27 days later.

Immature An. balabacensis occupy shaded, temporary freshwater pools including rock pools, wheel ruts, ditches, puddles, animal wallows, animal footprints. Less frequently, they are found in rice fields and stream edges, in fruit husks and plastic buckets.


Anopheles balacensis is a forest-dependent species typically associated with foothills in mountainous areas, where it feeds both on monkeys and people. In deforested areas, the species is extremely rare. In Sabah (Borneo), 1.61% of wild-caught An. balabacensis (n = 1,437) were positive for simian malaria parasites—including Plasmodium coatneyi, P. inui, P. fieldi, P. cynomolgi, and P. knowlesi (which also causes disease in man). In Sabah, the species is primarily exophilic—it will enter houses to feed but always returns outside to rest. Plasmodium falciparum infection rates of 1.3% are reported in An. balabacensis in Sabah, and it is considered the primary vector in NE Borneo, central Java and on Lombok Island.



Brunei, Philippines (including islands of Balabac, Culion, Palawan), Malaysian Borneo (including Sabah, Sarawak), Indonesia (including Java, Kalimantan, Lombok, Sumba, Sumbawa).

Distribution map for <em>Anopheles balabacensis</em> Baisas, 1936



None; View other WRBU Vector Hazard Reports

Available GIS Models



IMPORTANT REFERENCES  (full citations below)

Baisas 1936b: 65 (M, F*, P*, L; leucosphyrus var.)

Baisas & Ubaldo-Pagayon 1956: 224 (L*, E*)

Colless 1956: 43 (M, F*, P*, L*, E)

Colless 1957c: 135 (F, L, to species)

Nguyen Thuong Hien 1968 (F*, L*; keys, taxonomy, bionomics, Vietnam)

Reid 1968: 291 (M*, F*, P*, L*, E*; keys, taxonomy)

Basio 1971b: 39 (M*, F*; bionomics)

Mattingly 1971a: Pl. 1 (A*, scutum), Pl. 8 (P paddle*), Pl. 22 (L*, terminal segments)

Rajapaksa 1971: (bionomics, Sabah)

Yang 1983 (review; taxonomy, bionomics)

Sallum et al. 2005: 20 (M, F*, P*, L*; lectotype designation)

Sallum et al. 2007: 27 (phylogenetics)

Maekawa et al. 2009 (distribution; Sumbawa)

Sinka et al. 2011: 89 (bionomics review, distribution, niche model)

Chua et al. 2017 (simian malaria incrimination; Sabah)

Manin et al. 2018 (population genetics)






Baisas, F. E. (1936b). Notes on Philippine mosquitoes. IV. The pupal and certain adult characters of some rare species of Anopheles. Philippine Journal of Science, 59(1), 65–98.

Baisas, F. E., & Ubaldo-Pagayon, A. (1956). Notes on Philippine mosquitoes. XVII. The eggs and first-instar larvae of some Neomyzomyias. Philippine Journal of Science, 85(2), 215–230.

Basio, R. G. (1971b). The mosquito fauna of the Philippines (Diptera, Culicidae). Manila: National Museum of the Philippines. 198pp.

Chua, T.H., Manin, B.O., Daim, S., Vythilingam, I., & Drakeley, C. (2017). Phylogenetic analysis of simian Plasmodium spp. infecting Anopheles balabacensis Baisas in Sabah, Malaysia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(10): e0005991.

Colless, D.H. (1956). The Anopheles leucosphyrus group. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London, 108, 37–116.

Colless, D.H. (1957c). Further notes on the systematics of the Anopheles leucosphyrus group (Diptera: Culicidae). Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society (B), 26(7–8), 131–139.

Maekawa, Y., Sunahara, T., Dachlan, Y.P., Yotoranoto, S., Basuki, T., Uemura, H., Kanbara, H. & M. Takagi. 2009. First record of Anopheles balabacensis from western Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 25(2), 203–205.

Manin, B.O., Drakeley, C.J., Chua, T.H. (2018). Mitochondrial variation in subpopulations of Anopheles balabacensis Baisas in Sabah, Malaysia (Diptera: Culicidae). PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202905.

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.

Nguyen Thuong Hien 1968. The genus of Anopheles in Vietnam. Saigon: Bureau of Entomology, National Malaria Program/ Republic of Vietnam. English translation by Military Entomology Information Service. 205pp.

Rajapaksa, N. (1971). Field and laboratory observations in Sabah, East Malaysia on the proportion of Anopheles balabacensis balabacensis eggs hatching after holding in a humid atmosphere. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 45(2), 263–265.

Reid, J.A. (1968). Anopheline mosquitoes of Malaya and Borneo. Studies from the Institute for Medical Research Malaysia, 31, 1–520.

Sallum, M. A. M., Foster, P.G., Li, C., Sithiprasasna, R., & Wilkerson, R.C. (2007). Phylogeny of the Leucosphyrus Group of Anopheles (Cellia) (Diptera: Culicidae) based on mitochondrial gene sequences. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 100(1), 27–35.

Sallum, M. A. M., Peyton, E.L., Harrison, B.A., & Wilkerson, R.C. (2005b). Revision of the Leucosphyrus Group of Anopheles (Cellia) (Diptera: Culicidae). Revista Brasileira de Entomología, 49(Suppl. 1), 1–152.

Sinka, M.E., Bangs, M.J., Manguin, S., Chareonviriyaphap, T., Patil, A.P., Temperley, W.H., ... Hay, S.I. (2011). The dominant Anopheles vectors of human malaria in the Asia-Pacific region: Occurrence data, distribution maps and bionomic précis. Parasites & Vectors, 4(1), 89.



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