ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Largest Mosquito In The World (Toxorhynchites speciosus) Is Harmless

Updated on February 19, 2012

Common Names: Predatory mosquito, mosquito eaters, mosquito hawks
Scientific: Toxorhynchites speciosus

The largest mosquito in the world is Toxorhynchites speciosus, a species of predatory mosquito. Members of the genus Toxorhynchites are commonly called predatory mosquitoes, mosquito eaters or mosquito hawks due to the fact that all Toxorhynchites species in their larval stage feed on aquatic invertebrates, including the larvae of other mosquitoes.

Both the male and female adults of Toxorhynchites speciosus primarily obtain the energy they need from feeding on nectar. Because they feed primarily on nectar, they also help to pollinate the plants they feed on in the process. The females do not require a blood-meal to produce eggs unlike most other mosquitoes. Neither the males or females ever feed on the blood of humans or any other animal. Adult Toxorhynchites speciosus will occasionally feed on honeydew, sap from damaged plants, juices from rotting fruits and any other easily accessible source of sugars.

Toxorhynchites speciosus is native to Australia and has a range that covers coastal areas north of Sydney in the states of New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. They can be found in coastal forests where they breed in rain-filled crevices in trees, puddles and other sources of still-water where the prey of their larvae can be found. The adults are sometimes seen in residential gardens during the warmer months of the year laying their eggs in mosquito larvae ridden pot reservoirs, water features and old car tires. Occasionally they will also enter peoples houses by accident, startling the vast majority of people who are unfamiliar with them who mistakenly think that they are giant blood suckers.

The genus name Toxorhynchites is dervived from a combination of the Greek words 'toxo' meaning arrow and 'rhynch' meaning snout, and is in references to the distinctive bent, arrow-shaped proboscis that is characteristic of this genus.

A female Toxorhynchites speciosus.  Females can be differentiated from the males as they have plain antennae.  Males of all mosquito species have plumed antennae.
A female Toxorhynchites speciosus. Females can be differentiated from the males as they have plain antennae. Males of all mosquito species have plumed antennae. | Source

Toxorhynchites speciosus adults are exceptionally large, with females reaching a length of up to 3.8 cm (1.5 inches). They have a greenish metallic thorax, yellow and black abdomen and white banding on their legs. The adults are active during the day.

The juvenile aquatic larvae are also large, about 10 times the size of regular mosquito larvae. The larvae have a dark brown upper surface with a lighter underside. Most mosquito larvae are filter feeders, however the larvae of Toxorhynchites species have grasping mandibles for seizing and chewing their prey.

Due to their efficiency in feeding upon the larvae of smaller, disease-carrying mosquitoes, Toxorhynchites species are currently being considered for release outside of their natural range to help combat mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever. These mosquitoes are true allies and it's worth learning how to recognize them before indiscriminately reaching for the bug-spray.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • TheNerdyGardener profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      Yes perhaps, I had forgotten that heartworm was also spread by mosquitoes. Good point.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Maybe they can help fix the Heartworm problem in dogs too!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)