Field Guide

The Field Guide has been developed to provide you with reference information, images and descriptions to identify the mosquito species that have been collected throughout Western Australia to date.

Currently, the Field Guide contains a list of approximately 100 mosquito species currently found in Western Australia.  Other taxonomic groups of invertebrates of public health significance will be added to the Field Guide in the future.  Watch this space for additional updates.

To access the Field Guide, click on the “Field Guide” Menu on the top list of menu options.

Field Guide Menu

Access the Field Guide by clicking on this menu item

When you enter the Field Guide; you will be present with a search field and a list of mosquito species.

Field Guide search function

The Field Guide Search function

You can access species information via four methods including:

  • typing a scientific name or common name into the search bar;
  • Clicking on an image;
  • clicking on the blue scientific name of a particular species; or
  • searching through the lists of species within the field guide.

The search bat allows you to type in some or all of a species name, and click Search.  This will then present you with a listing of species that match your search term.

Field guide - search function - autocomplete scientific nameThe full list of species is provided at the start of your search

If thumbnails are available next to species names, you can click on the image to go to that specific species page in the field guide.  A single thumbnail is provided if images are available in the field guide for that specific species.  The Department of Health is currently taking photographs of mosquito species to include in the Field Guide as we come across new specimens in good condition.  Images will be updated regularly, however, some species are particularly rare and it may take time to obtain decent photographs. Similarly, the taxonomic name (written in blue, latin and italics) or the common name (if there is one) can be clicked to take you to that specific species page.

Field guide thumbnail and species name

A thumbnail or scientific name can be clicked on to take you to that specific species page

Lastly, you can find the species in the list of taxonomic names under the search box.  The species are listed in alphabetical order.  You can jump back and forward between species names by selecting the numbered pages at the bottom of the list on each page.  You can also jump to the last record by clicking on the arrow button to the far right of the numbered pages.

Field Guide - search function - pages navigation

Jump through the alphabetical species listing by clicking on the page numbers

Any of these search methods will allow you to find the species you are interested in and take you to the species page for that record.  For each of the species recorded, we have compiled as much information as we can.  This includes:

  • Description (of adults and larvae);
  • Photographs (of adults and larvae);
  • Biology (notes of the ecology and biology of the species);
  • Relation to Disease (including if known as a disease vector);
  • Distribution (maps based on current occurrence records); and
  • Species with which it may be confused (with tips for confirming the correct species identification for difficult to differentiate species).

Field Guide - Species page

An example of a species page held within the Field Guide

The species name (written in Latin and italics) is presented at the top of the species page, followed by the common name of the species (if there is one) underneath.  The surname of the scientist that originally described the organism is displayed to the right of the page followed by the year in which the species was first discovered and described.

Field Guide - names and authors

An example of the scientific name, common name and name of author with year of first published description

Under the Description heading are the taxonomic characters used to identify the displayed species.  These characters are specific to adult specimens and larval specimens and have been divided into these two categories accordingly.  Characters used to identify the species are also specific for female mosquitoes and are not reliable for male specimens that look slightly different.  Only female mosquitoes can be confirmed through these taxonomic tips.  The taxonomic characters used to identify female adult mosquitoes have been divided into a number of subcategories to make is easier to find the features you are looking at.  The subcategories include:

  • Head;
  • Thorax;
  • Abdomen
  • Legs; and
  • Wings.

Under each of these headings is a list of taxonomic features that are specific to that particular species. All features must be present to confirm the identification of the species. These features should help you to identify the species of mosquito you are looking at.

Field Guide - Adult description

An example of an adult female taxonomic description for Aedes notoscriptus

The taxonomic characters used to identify larval mosquitoes have been divided into a number of subcategories to make is easier to find the features you are looking for. The subcategories for larval specimens include:

  • Head;
  • thorax; and
  • Abdomen.

Under each of these headings is a list of taxonomic features that are specific to that particular species. All features must be present to confirm the identification of the species. These features should help you to identify the species of mosquito you are looking at.

Field guide - larval description

An example of a larval taxonomic description for Aedes camptorhynchus

Photographs of each species are being collected and added to the Field Guide. If images are available for the selected species, up to two image carousels will be available on each species pages (one for adult images and one for larval images).  The images are displayed with one larger image and up to 20 thumbnails for each species.  These images should provide the ability to compare the taxonomic features described in the descriptions with the actual specimen being examined and images to help identify the species.

Field Guide - photos

An example of the adult image carousel for Aedes notoscriptus

When you scroll over the image carousel a number of arrows will appear next to the images.  The large arrows either side of the largest image displayed allow you to move back and forth through the images, one at a time. The small arrows either side of the thumbnails allow you to move from the first to the last image.

Additionally, we have allowed you to increase the size of the images to fill the screen.  If you click on the largest image, it will increase in size.  Additionally, if you move the mouse cursor to the centre left or right of the image, small arrows will appear that allow you to move back and forth between the images in the larger size.

bigpic

The large images can be closed by clicking on the close button “X” in the top right corner of the image.

Field guide - close image button

The close button to go back to the Field Guide species page

Below the images is a section on Biology.  This describes the known biology of the species, where it breeds, and other features about its ecology.

Field Guide - Biology

Information of the biology and ecology of each species is displayed under Biology

Information on the ability of each species to transmit disease is displayed under the Relations to Disease heading.

Field Guide - Relation to Disease

Information on disease transmission for each species is also displayed

A distribution map is also presented to show the current distribution of each species.  Each dot on the distribution map represents an occurrence record for the particular species being examined based on the data stored within the Atlas of Environmental Health.  The distribution maps are updated on a yearly basis to provide additional information on the species distribution across Western Australia.

Field Guide - distribution

The distribution map for Aedes camptorhynchus, the Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito, showing its southerly distribution across Western Australia.

Lastly, notes are also provided on species that may be confused with other mosquito species in Western Australia.  This section provides helpful hints on confirming species identity between closely related or similar looking species.

Field Guide - confusing species

Taxonomic clarification on species that may be hard to distinguish

The Medical Entomology team are continuing to compile more information on the species recorded in Western Australia, and as this becomes available, it will be released on this web site.

If you would like to contribute to the Field Guide, please email the team at medical.entomology@health.wa.gov.au.