Bug News

Bug News

Observations, factoids, funny clips, and lots of bugs and other nature related images.

5-Minute Read

As if the floodplain mosquitoes this year weren’t enough – now there’s ginormous mosquitoes that look like they just came out of Jumanji! Ok, ok. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration… But only slightly. These gals are HUGE!

For size reference, the mosquito is sitting on the brick wall of my house. I was just checking to see if there were any fun moths that came to the light while my dog, Sunday, took her evening ablutions… I was not expecting to see this sucker. Pun intended lol. It didn’t want to hold still for additional photos though, so I only got the one shot. I took a ruler out the next morning so you can see the size comparison in relation to the bricks… Yeah. Told you it was big!

Mosquito on bricks with ruler the next day superimposed for scale

This ginormous monster mosquito is the Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper, Psorophora ciliata (family = Culicidae). It is one of the largest mosquitoes found in North America. Thankfully these critters are relatively rarely seen compared to other smaller mosquitoes, since the females do feed on mammal blood - including humans and dogs 😱 The males are harmless though, and are only around to help create the next generation. Males may feed on nectar to help keep them going, but do not blood feed. The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper is found throughout most of the eastern US, but don’t get too terribly far north. According to the distribution maps, only southern Michigan is within their range. Lucky me… I’m just barely within their distribution range (she says super sarcastically lol)…

Interestingly, while I certainly would prefer not to get bitten by this giant, the larvae (aka baby mosquitoes) are actually beneficial. Now how could that be right, you ask? Well, apparently the larvae’s preferred food source, instead of algae and other microscopic bits like most mosquito larvae, is… wait for it… Other mosquito larvae! Well how about that. So as larvae they are actually good guys (for us anyway), hunting down the larvae of other smaller species of mosquito. Its not until they turn into adults that we need to avoid them. So that’s something. Still, I really don’t want to get bitten by one of these huge suckers…

Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper mosquito, Psorophora ciliata

What to read more about this Jumanji sized mosquito? Check out these resources:

Want to learn about a similar summer mosquito, the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus? Check out the website How I Get Rid of. They have information about that mosquito, as well as suggetions for detering the nasty pests.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While I’m a big supporter of using deet on humans to help keep the biting things off, DO NOT USE DEET ON DOGS. Deet is highly toxic to dogs. If you want bug spray for your furry companion, make sure you get something made specifically for dogs and check with your vet first. Always check with your veterinarian first.

It is super important to protect your pets against mosquito transmitted diseases. If you are in a region that has any blood feeding mosquito species, and your pet spends any time outdoors, make sure you keep your pet on heartworm medication year round (sometimes there are late season mosquitoes even in winter or that managed to find some sitting water in your house). My dog Sunday loves spending time outside with me, so she stays on heartworm (parasite transmitted by mosquitoes) medication year round and gets tested annually by our vet just to be sure. There are many great heartworm medications available. Check with your vet to find the best one for you. For us, we have been very pleased with Revolution as well as Sentinel.

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Written by an entomologist for the enjoyment of all... The goal is to post 1 new story every week or so. Stay tuned!