Anopheles cruzii Dyar & Knab, 1908




Etymology: Oswaldo Gonçalves Cruz

First described as An. lutzii Theobald, 1901; a name, however, that was to be preoccupied by An. (Nyssorhynchus) lutzii Cruz, 1901.  Subsequently, it was given the replacement name, cruzii, by Dyar & Knab in 1908. Immatures of Anopheles cruzii are most similar to those of An. (Ker.) homunculus Komp and An. (Ker.) bellator Dyar & Knab. Adult An. cruzii are very similar to An. homunculus, and differentiation of the adult females can be tricky. Chromosome and DNA analysis have shown that An. cruzii is a cryptic species complex, comprising at least three distinct genetic entities, and that the Itatiaia population from Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, is in the process of incipient speciation. There are currently three synonyms—adolphoi Neiva, lutzii Theobald, montemor Correa—and it remains to be determined which of these, if any, correspond to the genetically identified taxa. Originally described from the Guanabara Region [= Rio de Janeiro municipality] of Brazil, An. cruzii s.l. is widely distributed across mainland Central and Southern America, from Costa Rica to Argentina (see map).

Type locality: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (as for lutzii Theobald 1901a—see Current Synonyms)

Type depository: Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom (NHMUK)

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

ADULT (illustrated): Head: Scales on MPlp3,4 predominately decumbent, those on base of 3 may be slightly erect. Thorax: Scutal integument silvery pruinose with four dark longitudinal stripes; scutum without pale scales on acrostichal, dorsocentral, and prescutellar areas. Thorax: Mesepimeron with 2 small upper and middle scale-patches. Wing: Accessory sector pale spot near middle of costa, nearly equi-distant between sector pale and subcostal pale spots; vein M with dark scales basal to level of mcu. Legs: Ta-III2–5 with broad apical pale bands 0.4–0.7 x length of each tarsomere. 

LARVA (not illustrated): Head: Setae 2-C, 3-C, or both, single; seta 3-C single or with a few aciculae; setae 5–7-C single, double or branched apically, never plumose; seta 8-C not extending past the base of 6-C. Abdomen: Palmate seta 1-I–VII with narrow pointed leaflets, with seta 1-I less developed than others; seta 6-VI long, aciculate. Terminal segments: Saddle lightly sclerotized; seta 1-S single.



Zavortink 1973

Harrison et al. 2012

Sallum, et al. 2020




adult mosquito key icon

WRBU - Genera - Global - Adult

 larval key icon

WRBU - Genera - Global - Larva

 adult mosquito key icon

WRBU - Genera - Neotropical - Adult

 larval key icon

WRBU - Genera - Neotropical - Larva

Exemplar DNA sequences

An. cruzii s.l. COI: JF923692; KC992738-791; KM507293-314




Typically An. cruzii s.l. are found in the leaf axils of bromeliads, from ground level to 15m up into the canopy. Occasionally immatures have been collected from other fresh water sites, including rain-water pools and ditches. Unique amongst An. (Kerteszia), the 3rd and 4th larval instars and the pupae have a characteristic reddish pigmentation to their cuticle. The life cycle is incredibly slow for a tropical species, taking 35 days under laboratory condition and up to four months in nature to mature from egg into adult.


Adult Anopheles cruzii s.l. are long-lived—surviving up to 56 days in the wild—increasing their opportunity to be infected with, and transmit, arboviral and pathogen agents. It is the primary malaria vector in littoral south and southeastern Brazil, where it can dominate a variety of habitats from the coastal flats up into the mountains. Females are highly aggressive and anthropophilic, with bi-crepuscular biting habits, peaking for around 90 minutes at dusk, with a smaller peak at dawn. Females are easily tempted to bite people during the day in shady forested areas. Anopheles cruzii s.l. has been reported biting monkeys and man both at the ground level and high in the canopy. Females readily enter homes to bite man, but do not rest indoors, evading residual spraying control efforts. Natural infection of the pathogenic flagellate Herpetomonas pessoiwhich affects egg maturationwas detected in An. cruzii s.l. in Santa Catarina, Brazil, highlighting the potential utility of this natural interaction for biocontrol.



Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela.

Distribution map for <em>Anopheles cruzii</em> Dyar & Knab, 1908



None; View other WRBU Vector Hazard Reports

Available GIS Models:

An_cruzii_Laporta_1 South & Central America


IMPORTANT REFERENCES (full citations below)

Dyar & Knab 1908: 53 (new name for lutzii Theobald 1901a, not Cruz, 1901)

Davis 1926 (F*)

Komp 1937b: 504 (M*, L; taxonomy; to species)

Netto 1940: 32 (L*)

Cova García 1946 (M, F*, L, E*)

Barreto & Coutinho 1951 (1950): 177 (taxonomy)

Lima 1952: 401 (L*)

Lane 1953: 285 (M*, F, L)

Zavortink 1973: 23 (M*, F*, L; keys)

Wilkerson & Peyton 1991 (M*, F*, P*, L*; bionomics)

Forattini & Marucci 1993 (E*)

Ramirez & Dessen 2000a (chromosomes, taxonomy; sensu lato)

Ramirez & Dessen 2000b (chromosomes, taxonomy; sensu lato)

de Carvalho-Pinto 2004 (molecular taxonomy)

Calado et al. 2005 (molecular taxonomy)

Rona et al. 2009 (molecular taxonomy; sensu lato)

Rona et al. 2010a (taxonomy; sensu lato)

Rona et al. 2010b (molecular systematics; sensu lato)

Harrison et al. 2012 (taxonomy, key)

Lorenz et al. 2012 (taxonomy, morphology)

Linton et al. 2013 (distribution; Ecuador)

Rona et al. 2013 (molecular taxonomy; sensu lato)

Berti et al. 2015 (distribution; Venezuela)

Sallum, et al. 2020 (keys F, M, L)



syn. lutzii Theobald

1901a: 177 (F*). Type locality: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (NHMUK). References: Belkin 1968b: 10 (lectotype designation).

syn. adolphoi Neiva

1908b: 457 (new name for lutzii Theobald, 1901a, not Cruz, 1901; Myzorhynchella). Type locality: Caraguatatuba, São Paulo, Brazil (FH). References: Barreto & Coutinho 1951 (1950): 177 (synonymy).

syn. montemor Corrêa

1950a: 53 (M*). Type locality: Caraguatatuba, São Paulo, Brazil (FH). References: Barretto & Coutinho 1951 (1950): 177 (synonymy); Belkin et al. 1971: 7 (taxonomy).



Barretto, M. P., & Coutinho, J. O. (1951). Sôbre o Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii Dyar e Knab e Anopheles (Kerteszia) Ianeanus Correa e Cerqueira (Diptera, Culicidae). Arquivos de Higiene e Saude Pública (São Paulo), 15(1950), 177–180.

Belkin, J.N. (1968b). Mosquito studies (Diptera, Culicidae). IX. The type specimens of New World mosquitoes in European museums. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 3(4), 1–69.

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.

Calado, D.C., & Navarro-Silva, M.A. (2005). Identification of Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii Dyar & Knab and Anopheles (Kerteszia) homunculus Komp (Diptera, Culicidae, Anophelinae) by molecular markers (RAPD and RFLP). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 22(4), 1127–1133.

Corrêa, R.R. (1950a). Descrição de Anopheles (Kerteszia) montemor nova espécie de anofelino do Brasil (Diptera, Culicidae). Arquivos de Higiene e Saude Pública, 14, 53–55.

Cova García, P. (1946). Notas sôbre los anofelinos de Venezuela y su identificacion. (CSP12/C1). Editorial Grafolit.

Cruz, O.G. (1901). Contribuição para o estudo dos culicidios do Rio de Janeiro. Brasil-Médico, 14(43), 423–426. 

Davis, N.C. (1926). Notes on the female hypopygia of anopheline mosquitoes, with special reference to some Brazilian species. American Journal of Hygiene, 6, 1–22.

de Carvalho-Pinto, C.J., & Lourenço-de-Oliviera, R. (2004). Isoenzymatic analysis of four Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii (Diptera: Culicidae) populations of Brazil. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 99(5), 471–475.

Dyar, H.G., & Knab, F. (1908). Descriptions of some new mosquitoes from tropical America. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 35(1632), 53–70.

Forattini, O.P., & Marucci, D. (1993). Scanning electron-microscopy of the eggs of two species of Anopheles (Kerteszia) (Diptera, Culicidae). Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 88(3), 349–352.

Harrison, B.A., Ruiz-Lopez, F., Calderon Falero, G., Savage, H.M., Pecor, J.E., & Wilkerson, R.C. (2012). Anopheles (Kerteszia) lepidotus (Diptera: Culicidae), not the malaria vector we thought it was: Revised male and female morphology; larva, pupa, and male genitalia characters; and molecular verification. Zootaxa, 3218, 1–17.

Komp, W.H.W. (1937b). The species of the subgenus Kerteszia of Anopheles (Diptera, Culicidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 30, 492–529.

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

Lima, M.M. (1952). Do diagnostico diferencial entre o Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii e o Anopheles (Kerteszia) homunculus na fase larvaria. Revista Brasileira de Malariologia e Doenças Tropicais (Rio de Janeiro), 4, 401–411.

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.

Lorenz, C., Marques, T. C., Mureb Sallum, M. A., & Suesdek, L. (2012). Morphometrical diagnosis of the malaria vectors Anopheles cruzii, An. homunculus and An. bellator. Parasites & Vectors, 5, 257.

Neiva, A. (1908b). Das anophelinas Brazileiras. Revista Médica de São Paulo, 11(22), 455- 459.

Netto, A. S. (1940). Mosquitos do Rio Grande do Sul. PhD thesis. Faculdade de Medicina de Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Ramirez, C.C.L., & Dessen, E.M.B. (2000a). Chromosomal evidence for sibling species of the malaria vector Anopheles cruzii. Genome, 43, 143–151.

Ramirez, C.C.L., & Dessen, E.M.B. (2000b). Chromosome differentiated populations of Anopheles cruzii: Evidence for a third sibling species. Genetica (Dordrecht), 108(1), 73–80.

Rona, L.D.P., Carvalho-Pinto, C.J., & Peixoto, A.A. (2010a). Molecular evidence for the occurrence of a new sibling species within the Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii complex in southeast Brazil. Malaria Journal, 9, 33.

Rona, L.D.P., Carvalho-Pinto, C.J., & Peixoto, A.A. (2013). Evidence for the occurrence of two sympatric sibling species within the Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii complex in southeast Brazil and the detection of asymmetric introgression between them using a multilocus analysis. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13, 207.

Rona, L.D.P., Carvalho-Pinto, C.J., Gentile, C., Grisard, E.C., & Peixoto, A.A. (2009). Assessing the molecular divergence between Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii populations from Brazil using the timeless gene: Further evidence of a species complex. Malaria Journal, 8, 60.

Rona, L.D.P., Carvalho-Pinto, C.J., Mazzoni, C.J., & Peixoto, A.A. (2010b). Estimation of divergence time between two sibling species of the Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii complex using a multilocus approach. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10, 91.

Sallum, M.A.M., Obando, R.G., Carrejo, N. et al. Identification key to the Anopheles mosquitoes of South America (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasites and Vectors, 13, 542 (2020). 

Theobald, F.V. (1901a). A monograph of the Culicidae or mosquitoes (Vol. 1). London: British Museum (Natural History). [424pp]

Wilkerson, R.C., & Peyton, E.L. (1991). The Brazilian malaria vector Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii: Life stages and biology (Diptera: Culicidae). Mosquito Systematics, 23(2), 110–122.

Zavortink, T.J. (1973). Mosquito studies (Diptera, Culicidae) XXIX. A review of the subgenus Kerteszia of Anopheles. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 9(3), 1–54.



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