Inspired by the salinarius post by Daniel Debord, I have been intrigued by the variations of morphological characteristics that can occur among members of the same species. Today I was going through a vial of aspirated Aedes taeniorhynchus mosquitoes that were in pristine condition. I get them a lot, so it was quite mundane until I noticed something different. While size variations are common among taeniorhynchus species, I was noticing differences in one of their defining characteristics - the obvious complete white band on the proboscis. One specimen seemed to be lacking the band.
I assumed maybe it had gotten rubbed off so I zoomed in for a closer look. Surprisingly, all scales were intact but one side of the proboscis was completely black and the other side had just a few white scales…hardly the complete band literature speaks of when identifying a taeni. This caused me to compare them all and I pulled out 3 to show how different the size of the band could be.
I thought perhaps the one lacking a band was just a fluke, but when I placed the contents of the next vial under my scope (all taeniorhynchus again but collected from a different location), I noticed yet another one that lacked a band or any white scales on her proboscis for that matter. Maybe this is more common than I thought and I just failed to notice. Or, perhaps there is a mutation beginning to take hold much like Daniel’s salinarius. Either way, it is an interesting phenomenon and I will be sure to pay more attention to it!
That’s fascinating! Nice observation. I’ll have to start giving taeniorhynchus more attention. With the volume of taenis in your area, it’s a great location to look for variation.