Mosquitoes in the genus Culex are the primary enzootic maintenance and bridge vectors of the North American encephalitides, now including West Nile virus. This review briefly summarizes the biology of three key vector species in western North America, Culex tarsalis, Cx. pipiens complex and Cx. stigmatosoma, focusing on the long history of research done in California. Topics reviewed include population genetic structure, larval ecology, autogeny, mating behavior, host-seeking behavior, host-selection patterns, and overwintering strategies. These attributes collectively have allowed the successful exploitation of anthropogenically altered ecosystems and enabled the role of these species as maintenance and bridge vectors of arboviruses.
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