Florida is home to 90 types of mosquitoes. Now, a new species is gaining a foothold

Not enough research yet to determine if its disease risk

The Culex lactator mosquito. (University of Florida)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A species of mosquito normally found in Central and South America is now growing in population in Florida.

The species is known by its scientific name of Culex lactator. It was first discovered in 2018 in southern Miami-Dade County, but it has since been found in Collier and Lee counties and may have spread elsewhere in the state, according to scientists at the University of Florida.

Scientists say there hasn’t been enough research about the species to determine its potential disease risk.

Florida is home to about 90 mosquito species, including as many as 17 nonnative species. Some of them are disease spreaders, spreading illnesses like West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, dengue virus, chikungunya and others.

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Scientists say the Culex lactator is part of an insect group that transmits West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis, but it’s not known whether Culex lactator will contribute to spreading those diseases in Florida.

They also say that detection of nonnative species of mosquitos is increasing, with six of the 17 in Florida being detected in the last five years.

They also say climate change may be improving the chances of more tropical mosquito species establishing in Florida.

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About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.