Anopheles Mosquito Facts & Identification

How to Prevent & Control Anopheles Mosquitoes


What Do They Look Like? mosquito illustration
  • Color: Commonly blackish to dark brown in color.
  • Body: Anopheles mosquitoes have a pair of mouthpart palps that are about the same length as the proboscis.
  • Characteristics: Females position themselves at about a 45 degree angle to the host’s skin when taking a blood meal, unlike most other mosquitoes that assume more of a parallel position with the host’s skin when feeding.

How Did I Get Anopheles Mosquitoes?

Humans are the ideal prey for an Anopheles mosquito, so the pests tend to gather where people live. These insects can breed in any source of fresh water. They can even lay their eggs in temporary pools of collected rainwater.

How Serious Are Anopheles Mosquitoes?

Itchy bites are the most common problem associated with the pests. These insects are the primary transmitters of malaria. Not every Anopheles mosquito has the disease, and malaria, having been eradicated in the 1950's, is extremely rare except for imported cases in the U.S.

Are They Dangerous?

Malaria transmitted from these insects can be fatal to young children who have not yet developed immunity and to pregnant women whose immunity heath in general is compromised by their pregnancy.

Signs of Infestation

Some signs on how to identify an anopheles mosquito infestation include:

How Do I Get Rid of Anopheles Mosquitoes?

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage Anopheles mosquitoes and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep Anopheles mosquitoes in their place and out of your home or business.


Behavior, Diet, Habits

What Do They Eat?

Males obtain their nourishment from plant nectar and other sources of sugar. Females also feed on sugars, but must take a blood meal before they can produce fully developed eggs.

Geographical Range

Anopheles mosquitoes are one of about 41 genera of mosquitoes that occur worldwide. Of the nearly 3,500 mosquito species, about 430 are Anopheles. The only country or region that does not have these mosquitoes is Antarctica.

Life Cycle

Anopheles mosquitoes complete four distinctly different life stages during their development. The egg, larval, and pupal stages take place in water while the adult stage is able to fly and move to other locations.


After taking a blood meal, females find a protected resting site and wait until she can digest the blood and for her eggs to fully develop. When ready, she will lay her eggs on a water source and fly away to search out another blood meal. Females lay about 50 to 200 eggs at a time.

Unlike other mosquito species who lay eggs in groups that are “glued” together (egg rafts), Anopheles eggs are laid individually and float on surface of the water. Eggs may hatch within 2–3 days after being laid but can take up to three weeks in cooler climates.


Anopheles mosquito larvae orient their body parallel to the water’s surface when taking in air, unlike others who orient more or less perpendicular to the water’s surface. The larvae get air through special organs on their body and must come to the water’s surface to breathe.

Larvae spend much of their time feeding on:

  • Algae
  • Aquatic microorganisms
  • Bacteria

Once the larvae have completed four instars (stages), the pupae develop. Pupae also must go to the surface of the water and breath through a pair of organs known as respiratory trumpets.


After about 2-3 days, the pupal stage is completed and the adult mosquito emerges.

Anopheles Mosquitoes & Malaria

Anopheles mosquitoes are one of the most important disease vectors among the insect world, earning this reputation as the result of being carriers of malaria. Worldwide, malaria deaths number up to about 1 million each year. While malaria takes “center stage” when it comes to disease transmission, anopheles mosquitoes may also transmit filariasis and some arboviral diseases.

Malaria in the U.S.

Each year, small numbers of malaria are reported in the United States. These cases primarily result from travelers returning to the U.S. from malaria endemic areas of the world. Malaria mainly arises in lesser-developed tropical and subtropical parts of the world. There is a risk for malaria to re-emerge in the U.S. due to the abundance of competent Anopheles vectors, especially in the South.