CDC Yellow Fever Mosquito

The day-biting Aedes aegypti mosquito prefers to feed human hosts and can spread the Flavivirus, “Yellow fever”. Photo by James Gathany/CDC.

James Gathany

This 2006 photograph depicted a female Aedes aegypti mosquito as she was in the process inserting her fascicle through the skin surface of her host. She then proceeded to obtain a “blood meal”, which normally would be from an unsuspecting host, but in this case, the CDC’s biomedical photographer, James Gathany, had volunteered his own hand in order to entice the insect to lite, and feed. As it would fill with blood, the abdomen would become distended, thereby, stretching the exterior exoskeletal surface, thereby, causing it to become transparent, and allowing the collecting blood to become visible as an enlarging red mass. See PHIL # #8923, for this mosquito’s appearance in its abdominally-distended state.

As the primary vector responsible for the transmission of the Flavivirus Dengue (DF), and Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), the day-biting Aedes aegypti mosquito prefers to feed on its human hosts. Ae. aegypti also plays a major role as a vector for another Flavivirus, “Yellow fever”. Frequently found in its tropical environs, the white banded markings on the tarsal segments of its jointed legs, though distinguishing it as Ae. aegypti, are similar to some other mosquito species. Also note the lyre-shaped, silvery-white markings on its thoracic region as well, which is also a determining morphologic identifying characteristic.

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