The phylogenetic relationships of Culicidae native to the northeastern United States were investigated by analyzing small subunit ribosomal DNA (18S rDNA) sequences obtained from 39 species representing nine genera. Molecular phylogenies were consistent with traditional classifications based on morphological characters except for the placements of Psorophora Robineau-Desvoidy and Uranotaenia Lynch Arribalzaga. In our analyses, 1) Anopheles Meigen was strongly supported as the sister taxon to the remaining Culicidae; 2) Toxorhynchites Theobald was represented as a distinct monophyletic sister group to the Culicinae; 3) Psorophora formed a basal clade to Culiseta Felt, Coquillettidia Dyar, and Culex L. but also was shown as a sister taxon to Aedes Meigen and Ochlerotatus Lynch Arribalzaga; 4) Coquillettidia perturbans (Walker) seems to be a sister group to Culiseta; 5) placement of Uranotaenia was inconclusive and seemed to be either a sister group to the Aedes and Ochlerotatus or a basal taxon to all other culicines; and 6) Aedes and Ochlerotatus formed two separate and distinct clades, providing phylogenetic data consistent with the recent elevation of Ochlerotatus to the generic level as proposed by Reinert (2000). The utility of 18S rDNA for evaluating phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships among mosquito taxa was demonstrated at the genus and species levels. To our knowledge, this study represents the first molecular-based phylogenetic study of mosquito species occurring within this geographic region of North America and contains the largest number of species that have been examined among the genera Aedes and Ochlerotatus.
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