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the web of life in southern Africa

Anopheles (Malaria Mosquitoes)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Phylum: Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Panorpida > Antliophora > Diptera (flies) > Culicomorpha

There are about 422 species of Anopheles worldwide, many of them sibling species that can only be identified using genetic techniques. Of these, about 70 are vectors of the protozoan Plasmodium that causes malaria, but only about 40 are important. Malaria infects 300-500 million and kills 1.5-2.7 million people each year, making it by far the most serious of the diseases spread by insects. 

For more information on malaria, go to Plasmodium and to History of malaria



  • Service, M.W. 1993. Mosquitoes (Culicidae). In: Medical Insects and Arachnids (eds R.P. Lane and R.W. Crosskey). Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 120-240.

  • Takken, W. & Knols, B.G.J. 1999. Odor-mediated behavior of Afrotropical malaria mosquitoes. Annual Review of Entomology 44: 131-157.

Text by Hamish Robertson