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Insect Scout: Nanda Gopal
Location: Avantipuram, AP, India
Species Identifier(s): Matthew, Debbie Hadley (http://insects.about.com/)
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).
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.