Culex theileri Theobald, 1903




Etymology: Arnold Theiler

Culex theileri is the nominotypical member of the Theileri Subgroup (Pipiens Group), which comprises only three species, including Cx. laticinctus Edwards, and Cx. mattinglyi Knight. Culex theileri is a large distinct mosquito, bearing pale bands on the abdomen, widened medially forming a yellowish triangular pattern. There is strong evidence for speciation in this important vector, with regional differences noted in bionomic traits (see bionomics).

Type locality: Pretoria, Transvaal [Republic of South Africa]

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

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

ADULT (illustrated): Head: Proboscis without pale bands. Thorax: Postspiracular and prealar scales present; lower mesepimeron with at least one seta; scales of upper and lower mesokatepisternum and posterior mesanepisternum (prealar area) merged. Legs: Ta-I–III dark.  Abdomen: Tergal pale bands widened medially.

LARVA (not illustrated):  Head: Seta 1-C slender; seta 5-C ,3,4 branched. Thorax: Seta 14-P single. Abdominal segment: seta 7-I much shorter than seta 6-I. Terminal segments: Comb scales pointed, with proximal fringe; siphon with most elements of seta 1-S mostly close to posterior midline, multi-branched (11–14).



Darsie & Pradhan 1990

Jupp 1996

Becker et al. 2010



adult mosquito key icon

WRBU – Culex (Cux.) - Afrotropical (East Africa) - Adult

adult mosquito key icon

WRBU – Culex (Cux.) - Afrotropical (West Africa) - Adult

Exemplar DNA sequences

Cx. theileri COI: FJ210898–900, HE610458–60, JN051388–90, KF407831, KJ012174–234




Immature Cx. theileri sites are highly variable. The species are found in temporary or permanent sites with fresh, brackish, salt, or foul water, in either open sunlit or shady locations (including large ground-pools, slow-moving streams, stagnant stream-pools, seepage pits, mangrove and Nipa palm swamps), and artificial containers (cement tanks, cesspools, tanks, canoes, jars, and cans). Immatures can be sympatric with other important vector species Cx. antennatus (Becker), Cx. pipiens Linnaeus, or Cx. perexiguus Theobald, but are often found alone.


In the Himalayan Region, Cx. theileri is common at high elevations (1000 to 3000m), but elsewhere in its range, it is found at lower elevations. It can be supernumerary in some areas but quite rare in others. The feeding preferences of Cx. theileri vary geographicallyEgyptian populations feed mainly on pigs and birds, but will enter houses to bite man; whereas South African Cx. theileri prefer cattle, but feed opportunistically on birds and man; in the Canary Islands, it feeds primarily on goats, dogs, and sheep, and less often on cats, cattle, and man. It often feeds on multiple hosts per ovicycle, increasing the opportunity for ingesting and spreading zoonotic diseases.



Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, Crimean Peninsula, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France (includes Corsica), Georgia, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel (and Gaza Strip & West Bank), Italy (includes Sardinia & Sicily), Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar (includes Glorioso & Juan De Nova Is), Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Portugal (includes Madeira), Republic of South Africa, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Spain (includes Canary Islands), Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Distribution map for <em>Culex theileri</em> Theobald, 1903



None; View other WRBU Vector Hazard Reports

Available GIS Models:

Cx_theileri_Dornak_1 Palearctic


IMPORTANT REFERENCES (full citations below)

Theobald 1903a: 187 (M*, F*)

Barraud 1924m (L*)

Kirkpatrick 1925b: 115 (M*, F, P*, L*; as tipuliformis)

Edwards 1941: 305 (M, F*), 419 (P)

Senevet 1949: 57 (M*)

Hopkins 1952: 289 (L*)

Noèldner 1953: 10 (M*, L*)

Rioux 1958: 251 (M*, F*, L*)

Aslamkhan 1971b (distribution; Pakistan)

Minar 1976: 336 (distribution)

Sirivanakarn 1976: 46 (M*, F*, P, L*; distribution)

McIntosh et al. 1980 (Rift Valley virus incrimination);

Rjazantzeva 1985 (F)

Ahmed 1987 (distribution; Bangladesh)

Harbach 1988: 61 (M*, F, P*, L*; distribution)

Darsie & Pradhan 1990 (F, L; taxonomy, keys, bionomics, distribution; Nepal)

Jupp 1996 (M*, F*; key)

Eritja et al. 2000: 12 (distribution; Spain)

Ribeiro et al. 2002 (distribution; Portugal)

Trari et al. 2002: 331 (distribution; Morocco)

Becker et al. 2010: 280 (M*, F*, L*; keys, taxonomy, distribution, bionomics)

Namazov 2014 (distribution; Azerbaijan)

Robert et al. 2019 (distribution, Euro-Mediterranean)



syn. creticus Theobald

1903a: 189 (F). Type locality: Crete, Greece (NHMUK).

syn. pettigrewii Theobald

1910a: 15 (F). Type locality: Ukhrul, Manipur, 6400ft, [Assam], India (NHMUK). References: Townsend 1990: 120 (type information).

syn. onderstepoortensis Theobald

1911b: 265 (F*). Type locality: Onderstepoort, Transvaal [Republic of South Africa] (NHMUK). References: Townsend 1990: 115 (type information).

syn. annulata Theobald

1913a: 321 (F; as var.). Type locality: Onderstepoort, Transvaal [Republic of South Africa] (NHMUK).

syn. alpha Séguy

1924: Pl. VII (L*). Type locality: Algeria (MNHP). References: Senevet 1947a: 128 (tax.); Harbach 1988: 61 (syn.; lectotype L illustration designation; specimen non existent).



Ahmed, T.U. (1987). Checklist of the mosquitoes of Bangladesh. Mosquito Systematics, 19(3), 187–200.

Aslamkhan, M. (1971b). The mosquitoes of Pakistan I. A checklist. Mosquito Systematics, 3(4), 147–159.

Barraud, P. J. (1924m). A revision of the culicine mosquitoes of India. Part XVII. Indian Journal of Medical Research (Calcutta), 12, 427–434.

Becker, N., Petrić, D., Zgomba, M., Boase, C., Madon, M., Dahl, C., & Kaiser, A. (2010). Mosquitoes and their control (Second ed.). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

Darsie, R.F., Jr., & Pradhan, S.P. (1990). The mosquitoes of Nepal: Their identification, distribution and biology. Mosquito Systematics, 22(2), 69–130.

Edwards, F.W. (1941). Mosquitoes of the Ethiopian Region. III. Culicine adults and pupae. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology.

Eritja, R., Aranda, C., Padrós, J., Goula, M., Lucientes, J., Escosa, R., . . . Cáceres, F. (2000). An annotated checklist and bibliography of the mosquitoes of Spain (Diptera: Culicidae). European Mosquito Bulletin, 8, 10–18.

Harbach, R.E. (1988). Mosquitoes of the subgenus Culex in southwestern Asia and Egypt (Diptera: Culicidae). Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 24(1), 1–240.

Hopkins, G.H.E. (1952). Mosquitoes of the Ethiopian region. I. Larval bionomics of mosquitoes and taxonomy of culicine larvae (2nd ed.). London, UK: British Museum (Natural History).

Jupp, P.G. (1996). Mosquitoes of southern Africa. Culicinae and Toxorhynchitinae. Ekogilde Publishers, Hartebeespoort, South Africa, 156pp.

Kirkpatrick, T.W. (1925b). The mosquitoes of Egypt. Egyptian Govt Anti-Malaria Commission.

McIntosh, B.M., Jupp, P.G., dos Santos, I., & Barnard, B.J.H. (1980). Vector studies on Rift Valley fever virus in South Africa. South African Medical Journal, 58, 127–132.

Minar, J. (1976). Culiciden aus der Mongolei (Diptera). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 22(3,4), 335–350.

Namazov, N. D. (2014). The distribution of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Entomological Review, 92, 280–282.

Noeldner, E. (1953). Moustiques rares ou peu connus d'Alsace. Encyclopedie Entomologique (B), 1–45.

Rioux, J. A. (1958). Les culicides du Midi Mediterraneen étude systematique et écologique. Encyclopedie Entomologique (A), 35, 1–303.

Rjazantzeva, A. E. (1985). Morphological features of the female genitalia of bloodsucking Diptera (Culicidae) and their use in systematics. In O. A. Skarlato (Ed.), Systematics of Diptera (Insecta) ecological and morphological priciples (pp. 129–131): Academy of Science of the USSR, Institute of Zoology (Translated from Russian, Amerind Publishing Company, New Delhi, India).

Robert, V., Günay, F., Le Goff, G., Boussès, P., Sulesco, T., Khalin, A., Medlock, J.M., Kampen, H., Petrić, D. & F. Schaffner. (2019). Distribution chart for Euro-Mediterranean mosquitoes (western Palaearctic region). Journal of the European Mosquito Control Association, 37, 1–28.

Seguy, E. (1924). Les moustiques de l'Afrique Mineure, de l'Egype et de la Syrie. Encyclopedie Entomologique (A), 1, 1–257.

Senevet, G. (1949). Le genre Culex en Afrique du Nord 2.- Les armures genitales mâles. Archives de l'Institut Pasteur d'Algérie, 27, 48–65.

Sirivanakarn, S. (1976). Medical entomology studies - III. A revision of the subgenus Culex in the Oriental region (Diptera: Culicidae). Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 12(2), 1–272.

Theobald, F.V. (1903a). A monograph of the Culicidae of the World (Vol. 3). London: British Museum (Natural History). 359pp

Theobald, F.V. (1910a). Second report on the collection of Culicidae in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, with descriptions of new genera and species. Records of the Indian Museum, 4, 1–33.

Theobald, F.V. (1911b). The Culicidae or mosquitoes of the Transvaal. Report of the Director of Veterinary Research, 1, 232–272.

Theobald, F.V. (1913a). Second report on the mosquitoes of the Transvaal. In A. Theiler (Ed.), Second Report of the Director of Veterinary Research (pp. 315–341). Cape Town: Cape Times Limited, Government Printers.

Trari, B., Dakki, M., Himmi, O., & El Agbani, M.A. (2002). Le moustiques (Diptera: Culicidae) du Maroc: Revue bibliographique (1916–2001) et inventaire des espèces. Bulletin de la Société de pathologie exotique (Paris), 96(4), 329–334.

Valenzuela, J.G., Pham, V.M., Garfield, M.K., Francischetti, I.M.B., & Ribeiro, J.M.C. (2002). Toward a description of the sialome of the adult female mosquito Aedes aegypti. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 32(9), 1101–1122.



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