Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Non-biting Midge - Chironomidae

Click on the images to zoom.

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Photographer: deadmanswill

Insect Scout: Nanda Gopal

Location: Avantipuram, AP, India

Species Identifier(s): Matthew, Debbie Hadley (

This is a correction of this post. We were mistaken in identifying this insect as a crane fly and were corrected by one of our readers, Matthew. Matthew informed us this insect was a non-biting midge. A consultation with experts on this forum also proved this.

Points to appreciate:
  • Though these insects resemble mosquitoes, they differ in various respects. They do not have sucking mouthparts as mosquitoes do. Also their wings lack scales.
  • The males (as this one above certainly is) have a feathery (plumose) antennae. They use these antennae to sense sex pheromones let out into the air by the females to attract a mate. Pheromones are chemicals insects produce for various communication purposes.
  • Midges are also identified by their hunchbacks. You can observe this easily in the third image (click on it enlarge the image).
Notes from Wikipedia:

Chironomidae (informally known as chironomids or non-biting midges) are a family of nematoceran flies with a global distribution. They are closely related to the Ceratopogonidae, Simuliidae, and Thaumaleidae. Many species superficially resemble mosquitoes but they lack the wing scales and elongate mouthparts of the Culicidae. This is a large group of insects with over 5000 described species and 700 species in North America alone. Males are easily recognized by their plumose antennae

Read this useful article to learn more how to identify midges and crane flies.

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