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Chironomidae - Non-biting Midges



NEMATOCERA, Culicomorpha, Chironomoidea Number of British species: 591

Size: T-M

Difficulty: 3-4

Study group


Minute to medium sized (1-10 mm) Nematocera with long, slender wings, abdomen and legs. Ocelli absent; antenna generally with 13 to 17 segments with conspicuously long verticils in the male. Wing usually clear, in some cases with dark markings; anterior veins more strongly developed than posterior ones.


Notwithstanding a considerable number of species of which the larvae are terrestrial, the larvae of the majority of the species are aquatic or semi-aquatic. They inhabit a large array of habitats ranging from the pristine to the most severely polluted and including brackish, marine and saline habitats. The larvae feed on algae, small or larger particles of organic matter and on plankton; some are carnivorous (Tanypodinae and some others). The composition of the larval fauna is a major factor in ascertaining the quality of the water. The adults, likewise, occur in a wide range of habitats, largely those near water. In some cases, the males fly in conspicuously large swarms.


families/nematocera/chironomidae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:00 (external edit)     Back to top
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