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Family Chironomidae - Midges

small midge? - female Midge ? - male Crane Fly ? - Chironomus - female Pupa - Radotanypus florens Green Midge Midge - Polypedilum trigonus - male Striped Bug - male Coelotanypus tricolor
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Nematocera" (Non-Brachycera))
Infraorder Culicomorpha (Mosquitoes and Midges)
Family Chironomidae (Midges)
Other Common Names
Non-biting Midges, Blind Mosquitoes, Common Midges
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tendipedidae (Meigen 1800) suppressed in favor of Chironomidae (Meigen 1803); see details in Classification section on pg 8 of PDF doc
Explanation of Names
Greek cheironomos (χειρονομος) 'one who moves the hands' (refers to the front legs, often raised and vibrated)(1)
English midge is from Middle English mydge and Old English mycg, mycge with the same meaning--a small fly. The word extends back to *mu-, an Indo-European root meaning small fly. A separate linguistic branch arising from the same root led to Latin musca and Greek myia (μυια), "fly" (Partridge, Origins--a Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English).
Numbers
817 described spp. in ~140 genera in our area, plus many undescribed(1) (current data, >1050 species in NA(2)); almost 7000 spp. in ~500 genera worldwide(3)
Size
mostly 1-10 mm (males of Chironomus plumosus up to 13 mm)
Identification
Small, delicate flies, resemble mosquitoes but do not bite. Often "dance" in large swarms over water or lawns. Other family characters(1)(4):
wings long and narrow, without scales (wings of mosquitoes have scales)
males with long, feathery (plumose antennae)
front tarsi often very long
wing tip without a straight vein reaching margin between two branched veins
Comprehensive keys to genera (both adults & larvae) in(5); other keys to larvae: Canada(6), NC+SC(7)
Quick guide to easily identifiable taxa.
For more difficult groups, see closeup picture requests.
Range
Worldwide, from Antarctica to the high Arctic islands, but perhaps absent from some hot deserts.
Habitat
Usually damp areas, or near bodies of water. Larvae mostly aquatic; a few occur in decaying matter, under bark or in moist ground. Larvae of some species tolerate seasonal dessication.
Season
Early spring through fall in temperate areas; Diamesinae and a few members of Orthocladiinae fly in winter
Food
Larvae mostly scavengers. Most Tanypodinae prey on small invertebrates, including other Chironomidae. Larvae of a few species are parasites of invertebrates (a South American genus parasitizes fish).
Adults do not need to feed. Many will take sugar water (or honeydew) given the opportunity.
Life Cycle
Larvae are mostly aquatic filter feeders, often living in tubes in soft mud; some are leaf-miners of aquatic plants
Eggs - Larva - Pupa
Remarks
Red larvae of genus Chironomus are called "bloodworms". Their blood contains hemoglobin, unusual for insects. Larvae are often very abundant and are an important food item for many fresh water fish and other aquatic animals.
Flamingo food. 61298582.06w
Internet References
(8)