1. Myxomatosis was first recorded in England in October 1953 and persisted over the following winter. It was anticipated that an epizootic, similar to those in Australia, would develop during the spring or summer of 1954 and that mosquitoes might be the principal vectors. A study of the sylvan mosquitoes in the area of the first myxomatosis outbreak was therefore made, from April 1954 onwards.
2. These mosquitoes (Aëdes spp.) overwinter as larvae, pupate in early May and are adult from mid-May to September. Throughout this period, in 1954, myxomatosis spread slowly in the study area and infected rabbits were abundant.
3. Despite the presence of large numbers of Aëdes (particularly A. cartans and A. annulipes) and their persistent attacks upon man, the mosquitoes (except in one case) were not attracted to healthy domestic rabbits exposed in the woods. Aëdes can have little, if any, part in the spread of myxomatosis. Observations made in the cool summer of 1954 were confirmed in the hot summer of 1955.
4. Engorged mosquitoes (apart from those which had just fed on the human collector) were never found, so precipitin tests could not be made. The source from which these woodland mosquitoes normally obtain their blood meals remains a mystery.
5. In the laboratory, the Aëdes were reluctant to feed on normal, healthy rabbits but fed readily (round the eyes and on the nose) on normal anaesthetized rabbits or comatose myxomatous rabbits. Biting experiments indicated that Aëdes may remain infective for up to 36 days after an infective blood meal.
6. Infected Aëdes were recovered from woods containing myxomatous rabbits, and tame rabbits infected by the bites of these mosquitoes developed myxomatous tumours on the nose. Although some Aëdes were thus feeding on wild myxomatous rabbits, the evidence that the mosquitoes did not feed on healthy rabbits indicates that Aëdes were of negligible importance as vectors of myxomatosis.