Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Paper

Studies on the biting habits of East African mosquitos in the genera Uranotaenia, Ficalbia and Hodgesia

A. J. Haddowa1 and Yovani Ssenkubugea1

a1 From the East African Virus Research Institute, Entebbe, Uganda.

Mosquitos in the genera Uranotaenia and Ficalbia seldom bite man. In Africa, only two species, U. alboabdominalis Theo. and F. plumosa, (Theo.), have been taken actually engorging on man, though others may occasionally alight on the skin.

Hodgesia cyptopus Theo. bites man freely in forest, bush and plantations near Entebbe, Uganda, and sometimes enters houses.

The bimodal nature of the biting cycle of H. cyptopus in certain series of catches led to an investigation of the daily march of light intensity near the forest floor. It was found that at least in some areas this is bimodal, with a midday period of lower intensity—a pattern reflected in the biting behaviour of various forest mosquitos.

Though always diurnal, the biting cycle of H. cyptopus varies in form from station to station. It is thought that light intensity is of importance, and that this species probably bites in or around the small splashes of sunlight which penetrate the dense vegetation.