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Insects of Medical Importance

The Top End of Australia is home to a range of insects, such as mosquitoes, biting midges, and other insects that can bite and sting and potentially transmit insect borne diseases.

The most dangerous insects in the Top End are mosquitoes. There are just over 100 species in the NT. Some species prefer to bite certain animals such as marsupials, frogs, or birds, while other species are relatively indiscriminate and will feed on any animal including humans. Over 20 species in the NT bite people often enough to be labelled serious pests. Some are just annoying pests, but others can carry viruses that can cause human disease.

There are other insects and arachnids that can cause painful and annoying bites or injury. These include wasps, itchy caterpillars, stinging caterpillars, stinging ants, march flies, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and a few others. Most of these rarely cause death or longer-term after effects.

For more details on insects of medical importance in the NT, and how to protect your self from bites and stings, please click on the documents listed below or visit our publications site.