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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Anopheles \A*noph"e*les\ ([.a]*n[o^]f"[-e]*l[=e]z), n. [NL., fr. Gr. 'anwfelh`s useless, hurtful.] (Zo["o]l.) A genus of mosquitoes which are secondary hosts of the malaria parasites, and whose bite is the usual, if not the only, means of infecting human beings with malaria. Several species are found in the United States. They may be distinguished from the ordinary mosquitoes of the genus Culex by the long slender palpi, nearly equaling the beak in length, while those of the female Culex are very short. They also assume different positions when resting, Culex usually holding the body parallel to the surface on which it rests and keeping the head and beak bent at an angle, while Anopheles holds the body at an angle with the surface and the head and beak in line with it. Unless they become themselves infected by previously biting a subject affected with malaria, the insects cannot transmit the disease.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

genus of mosquitoes, Modern Latin, coined 1818 by German entomologist Johann Wilhelm Meigen (1764-1845) from Greek anopheles "useless, hurtful, harmful," from an-, privative prefix, (see an- (1)) + ophelos "use, help, advantage" (see Ophelia). So called because it conveys malaria.


n. (context entomology English) A member of the ''Anopheles'' genus of mosquitos, which can carry the parasite which causes malaria.


Anopheles (Greek anofelís: "useless") is a genus of mosquito first described and named by J. W. Meigen in 1818. About 460 species are recognised; while over 100 can transmit human malaria, only 30–40 commonly transmit parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which cause malaria in humans in endemic areas. Anopheles gambiae is one of the best known, because of its predominant role in the transmission of the most dangerous malaria parasite species (to humans) – Plasmodium falciparum.

The name comes from the Greek , , meaning "not", and , , meaning "profit", and translates to "useless". Anopheles mosquitoes kill about 440,000 people each year because of malaria.

Some species of Anopheles also can serve as the vectors for canine heartworm Dirofilaria immitis, the filariasis-causing species Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi, and viruses such as one that causes O'nyong'nyong fever. An association of brain tumor incidence and malaria suggests the Anopheles might transmit a virus or other agent that could cause a brain tumor.

Mosquitoes in other genera ( Aedes, Culex, Culiseta, Haemagogus and Ochlerotatus) can also serve as vectors of disease agents, but not malaria.

Usage examples of "anopheles".

Grassi hurried out of Rome to Moletta and came back with a couple of little bottles in which buzzed ten fine female anopheles mosquitoes.

Moreover, this new and unexpected type of reproduction is surely no more weird than many of the great variety of methods already found in the biological world--the startling transformation of caterpillar into butterfly, or the arrangement between bees and flowers, or the unpleasant but marvelously complex system of the anopheles mosquito.

Even mefloquine, however, with all its toxic-ity, is losing the battle against the ingenious mutations of the malaria parasite, carried by the Anopheles mosquito, which in turn transmits the parasite to man.