GOOD GUY: Naomi Ellis found this large, noisy mosquito in her home at Moore Park Beach.
GOOD GUY: Naomi Ellis found this large, noisy mosquito in her home at Moore Park Beach.

Meet the 'superhero' of the insect world: a mosquito?

HE'S got stripy legs, a big long snout and sounds like a 747.

No, it's not an exotic kind of elephant; it's a superhero of the insect world: a mosquito named toxorhynchites speciousus.

Moore Park Beach resident Naomi Ellis came across the large mozzie in her home this week and it caught her eye because she had "never seen one like it before".

"It was extremely noisy," Ms Ellis said. "I looked over and thought 'What the heck is that?'

"I flicked him with a magazine and then had a closer look and thought he looked very strange."

Bigger than the average house mosquito at around 1cm tall and with distinctive stripes, Ms Ellis initially googled the specimen and feared it was the Asian Tiger mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus but has not been found on the Australian mainland.

But Sydney University medical entomologist Dr Cameron Webb identified the noisy intruder as toxorhynchites speciosus - which he calls "the good mosquito".

"They are really the "good guys" of the mosquito world," Dr Webb said.

"They don't bite and their wrigglers eat those of pest mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus."

Notwithstanding their size, a Toxorhynchites is most easily identifiable by their long bent proboscis, he said.

CQUniversity professor of immunology/haematology Andrew Taylor-Robinson suggested the Moore Park specimen could also be a juvenile crane fly, which have similar striking yellow markings

"Reassuringly, currently the Asian tiger mosquito does not reside on the Australian mainland - it occurs in the Torres Strait, but of course may establish further south in time," Dr Taylor-Robinson said.

"However, it may take a while to reach Bundy, if at all. Aedes aegypti, which also transmits Zika, does occur in north and central Queensland, but looks very similar to the black and white Aedes albopictus. It was this mosquito that is the primary concern here if there ever was an outbreak of Zika."

Bundaberg Regional Council is currently undertaking a spraying program to eradicate Aedes aegypti from areas around Gin Gin.


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