Like all mosquitoes, adult Anopheles mosquitoes have slender bodies with three sections:
The head is specialized for acquiring sensory information and for feeding. It contains the eyes and a pair of long, many-segmented antennae. The antennae are important for detecting host odors, as well as odors of breeding sites where females lay eggs. The head also has an elongated, forward-projecting proboscis (tube coming from the mouth) used for feeding and two sensory palps.
The thorax of adult Anopheles is specialized for locomotion (moving). Three pairs of legs and a pair of wings are attached to the thorax.
The abdomen is specialized for food digestion and egg development. This segmented body part expands considerably when a female takes a blood meal. The blood is digested over time, serving as a source of protein for the production of eggs, which gradually fill the abdomen.
Adult Anopheles mosquitoes usually mate within a few days after emerging from the pupal stage. In most species, the males form large swarms, usually around dusk, and the females fly into the swarms to mate.
Anopheles mosquitoes can be distinguished from other types by their long, sensory palps and by the presence of discrete blocks of black and white scales on the wings. Adults can also be identified by their typical resting position: Males and females rest with their abdomens sticking up in the air, rather than parallel to the surface on which they are resting.
Male Anopheles mosquitoes live for about a week, feeding on nectar and other sources of sugar. Female Anopheles mosquitoes can survive up to a month, but most do not typically live longer than one to two weeks. Their chances of survival depend on temperature and humidity, but also on their ability to successfully obtain a blood meal.