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Ochlerotatus rusticus (Rossi 1790)  
Ochlerotatus rusticus.
   
 

Distribution: The Holarctic species is widespread throughout Europe (Cranston et al. 1987, Schaffner et al. 2001) and may also be found in North Africa and Asia Minor (Becker et al. 2003).

Habitat: Breeding sites are situated in open landscapes, in the undergrowth or under forest canopy; aquatic stages develop in ditches, in swampy woodlands with high level of ground water, in pools, flooded meadows or shallow backwaters (Peus 1929, Mihályi 1959, Cranston et al. 1987, Schaffner et al. 2001, Becker et al. 2003), often lined with leaf detritus, upon which the larvae feed (Cranston et al. 1987).

Biology: The species is univoltine; eggs are laid in dried-up hollows during the spring and summer and hatch when flooded later in the year; first instar larvae have been observed in every month between October and June, last instar larvae occur from December onwards (Marshall 1938). Larvae tolerate low water temperatures and may survive under ice canopy for a long time; they even resist freezing of the breeding site, but only for a few hours (Mohrig 1969). The species may also hibernate in the egg stage (Trpiš 1962).

Adults: Adults fly from the end of March or April till June or July (Trpiš 1962, Mohrig 1969, Cranston et al. 1987). Females feed outdoors on birds, mammals, and humans, but do not enter buildings to bite (Mohrig 1969, Cranston et al. 1987, Schaffner et al. 2001). They mainly attack at dusk and during the night, and are often responsible to strong nuisances in proximity to their original breeding sites; no parasitic disease transmission has been assigned to this species at present (Schaffner et al. 2001).